Blog

  1. Half of Office 365 Active Users Now Use Teams October 28, 2020 7:22 am - Microsoft's FY21 Q3 results told us that Teams now has 115 million users, a 53% uptick since April. Office 365 keeps on growing in numbers, revenue, and profit. While growth might be slowing, there's still a ton of accounts to be moved to the cloud, where they'll probably end up as Teams users.
  2. How to Use Background Images and Blur in Teams Meetings April 6, 2020 12:09 am - Teams supports the selection of an image to use as the background for meetings. For now, you can choose from a set of images selected by Microsoft, but soon users will be able to upload their own images and use them in Teams meetings. While we wait for Microsoft to complete some work on admin framework to control image upload, a workaround is available to use custom images today.
  3. How to Enable the First Contact Safety Tip in Microsoft Defender for Office 365 November 26, 2020 2:00 am - Exchange Online Protection (EOP) and Microsoft Defender for Office 365 support anti-phishing policies which generate safety tips for users. The first contact safety tip warns users when they receive email from someone they don't usually get messages from. It's a way to put the recipient on their guard, just in case it's someone trying to impersonate someone else whom the recipient actually knows.
  4. Keeping an Accurate Office 365 Tenant Directory is Important November 25, 2020 9:09 am - Many Office 365 features depend on accurate user account data in Azure AD. Here's how to use PowerShell to track down accounts with missing properties. Once you know which accounts need to be updated, it's easy to insert the missing properties. Boring, but easy...
  5. New Access Rules for Teams Meeting Chat Membership November 24, 2020 9:32 am - Participants in Teams meetings can use the meeting chat to discuss topics, post pointers, and so on. The access rules are changing for some added to a meeting to make sure that people don't get too much access to meeting resources (like chat) once the meeting finishes. It's a small but important point for Teams administrators to understand.
  6. The Power of Exchange Online Dynamic Distribution Lists November 23, 2020 1:17 am - Exchange Online Dynamic Distribution Lists are a powerful way to address changeable groups of recipients. The query against the directory is the big thing to get right, but you've also got to make sure that the directory data is accurate and reliable. Once you've got a good directory, it's easy to create dynamic distribution lists which are easy to use and never go out of date.
  7. Outlook’s Groups Menu Bar Now Includes Teams November 20, 2020 8:53 am - Outlook for Windows has a Groups menu bar which is displayed when conversations in a Microsoft 365 group are accessed. A new Teams button is available to bring users to the General channel of team-enabled groups. It's an interesting decision by Microsoft to add the button because I am not quite sure if any need exists for such a facility.
  8. EOP Escalates Fight Against High-Confidence Phish November 19, 2020 9:44 am - A change due in December will improve how Exchange Online Protection suppresses high confidence phish messages and stop them being delivered to user mailboxes. The old-fashioned allowed sender and allowed domain lists are being taken out of the equation and ignored when EOP is sure that it's dealing with some high-confidence phish. It's time to check your anti-spam policies.
  9. Exports of Exchange Online Search Results Now Decrypt Attachments November 18, 2020 9:32 am - When you use an Office 365 content search to find items, the results from Exchange Online might include some encrypted attachments. A change means that the attachments can now be decrypted to make it easier for investigators to review the information. It's a small but important change, just like the update to Edge which stops ClickOnce programs running unless an Edge setting is enabled. All good, clean, honest fun.
  10. How Noise Suppression Works in Teams Meetings November 17, 2020 1:42 am - An update to the Teams Windows client introduces automatic noise suppression for Teams meetings. You can tune suppression up or down to reflect your environment. The feature works by analyzing the audio feed from the microphone used in a meeting and removing unwanted noise. The more suppression is done, the more resources are used, so this is something to keep an eye on.
  11. Microsoft Makes Endpoint Data Loss Prevention Generally Available November 16, 2020 9:00 am - Microsoft has made Endpoint DLP generally available. Leveraging Windows 10 workstations and the Edge browser, Endpoint DLP sends signals for evaluation to detect possible violations. The solution requires Microsoft 365 licenses and only supports Windows, so it's not for every tenant. But those who have Microsoft 365 licenses will find this an attractive solution.
  12. Workaround Moca Mobile Deficiency with To Do Tasks November 13, 2020 3:09 am - Project Moca is a new Office 365 personal productivity app which doesn't have a mobile app. It's hard to be productive if you can't be when mobile. Which is why To Do allows people to capture thoughts. A workaround of sorts is available through To Do tasks. Whether this is enough for you to switch to Moca is debatable.
  13. Microsoft Clamps Down on Automatic Mail Forwarding in Exchange Online November 12, 2020 6:15 am - Microsoft has updated the Exchange Online outbound spam filter policy to stop automatic forwarding of email from user mailboxes. The change is now effective with the default set to block automatic forwarding. You can create a custom policy and apply it to selected mailboxes and distribution lists if they need to forward email.
  14. Microsoft Improves Teams Together Mode with New Background Scenes November 11, 2020 8:41 am - Together Mode is a more immersive way to present participants in a Teams meeting. The original theater scene is being augmented with new scenes including boardrooms (suitable for small meetings) and amphitheaters (for large meetings). At the same time, the view used for Teams meeting recordings is changing from 2x2 to 3x3.
  15. Quadrotech and Quest Combine November 10, 2020 3:28 pm - Quest has acquired Quadrotech to add to their portfolio of Office 365 applications designed to help organizations get date into the cloud and manage it when it's there. Recent Quest acquisitions of Metalogix, Binary Tree, and now Quadrotech give it a bunch of technology, notably in the area of tenant-to-tenant migrations.
  16. How to Support Manager-Assistant Scenarios in Teams November 10, 2020 8:29 am - Unlike email systems, Microsoft Teams doesn't support user delegation, or assigning the right for someone to act on behafl of someone else. Here's how to workaround some of the issues involved in helping managers and their assistants work effectively together, including personal chat, channel messages, and scheduling calendar meetings.
  17. Adding a Personal Account to the Teams Desktop Client November 9, 2020 1:00 am - The Teams Windows and MacOS desktop clients will soon allow users to add a personal account to the set of Office 365 tenants they connect to. A great deal of excitement ensued after people saw Microsoft 365 roadmap item 68845 and assumed this meant that Teams would support connections with multiple work accounts. The ability to add more than one work account to your Teams profile isn’t available now as the update is to support connectivity to Teams at home (personal), but support for multiple work accounts is coming in the future.
  18. Microsoft Removes EEEU Permission from OneDrive for Business Accounts November 6, 2020 12:21 am - Microsoft is rolling out an update to remove the Everyone Except External Users (EEEU) permission from OneDrive for Business accounts created before August 1. They're also doing a permissions reset of lists created in those accounts, meaning that some folks might lose access to lists. It's hard to know how much impact this will have on Office 365 tenants, but it's probably a good ideas to ask.
  19. How to Resolve Duplicate Outlook for iOS Contacts November 5, 2020 1:00 am - Outlook Mobile synchronizes contacts from Exchange Online to iOS. Sometimes errors happen and duplicate contacts result. It's easy to resolve the problem by forcing a complete resynchronization of contacts to rebuild what's on the iOS device.
  20. Teams Updates for Presence Duration and Meeting End Notifications November 4, 2020 1:00 am - Two recent updates released for Microsoft Teams gives users the ability to set a duration for their presence status and five-minute end of meeting notifications. The notifications are just a nagging prompt that the meeting will end soon. It doesn't mean that everyone will be forced out of the meeting when the five minutes expire, even if you'd like this to be the case.
  21. How to Leave a Microsoft 365 Tenant by Removing Your Guest Account November 3, 2020 1:00 am - Over time, you might join several Office 365 tenants as a guest. Some of those Azure AD guest accounts probably won't be needed forever and you want to clean them up. This is easy for individuals to do through their MyAccount page, which might just be a page that they never knew existed.
  22. Office 365 for IT Pros Issues November 2020 Update November 2, 2020 1:00 am - The November 2020 update for the world's best Office 365 book is available. Subscribers to Office 365 for IT Pros can now download updated files. The companion volume has also been updated. Full details of the updates to 222 chapters can be found in the Office 365 for IT Pros change log.
  23. Using the Teams Meeting Add-in for Outlook October 30, 2020 1:00 am - The Teams Meeting add-in for Outlook schedules online private Teams meetings. A recent update for Outlook for Windows allows meeting settings to be changed. It's a logical and useful update to allow people who prefer to work in Outlook to maintain their meetings without needing to go to the Teams calendar app.
  24. Signs of a Phishing Attempt Based on Office VoIP Voicemail Notifications October 29, 2020 1:01 am - A crude phishing attempt based on voicemail notifications from a VoIP service arrived in mailboxes. It's easy for experienced users to pick up signs to stay away, but the unwary can be trapped. Report samples of phishing attempts to Microsoft to make Exchange Online Protection better and keep on educating users.
  25. Planner Leak Allows External Recipients to Receive Task Comments October 27, 2020 1:00 am - An unfortunate problem in the Office 365 Planner app allows external recipients to be added to to email so that they receive and see comments posted for tasks. Although this doesn't sound like such a big problem, it is because it can lead to confidential information leaking outside the organization in an uncontrollable manner. Microsoft support says that Planner is working by design. We don't believe that this could possibly be the case.
  26. Revocation of Email Protected by Office 365 Message Encryption October 26, 2020 1:00 am - Office 365 Message Encryption (OME) allows OWA users to revoke some messages after they are delivered to recipients. But if the message goes to Office 365 or Outlook.com, you can't revoke it. And there's the slight matter of needing an Office 365 E5 license too. Even so, it's still nice to be able to revoke messages if they go to the wrong place.
  27. Microsoft Will Finally Retire Site Mailboxes in April 2021 October 23, 2020 1:51 am - Site Mailboxes were the face of Microsoft collaboration at one time. But that's long in the past and it's time for these archaic mailboxes to be dispatched. Microsoft will retire them from Office 365 in April 2021, probably two years after they passed their best-by date. I tried to clean up my tenant and failed utterly, so I'm leaving the mess for Microsoft to sort out.
  28. Teams Notifications Updated for Native OS Support and Better Privacy October 22, 2020 7:41 am - Teams notifications can now be handled by Windows and macOS, and you can get better privacy by disabling message preview in the notifications, including on Teams mobile clients. The privacy updates are available now and support for the native OS notifications in both Windows and macOS should be available in mid-November.
  29. How to Update Teams to Send Meeting Invitations to All Members October 21, 2020 8:13 am - Teams depends on Microsoft 365 groups. You can add groups as meeting attendees and expect that members of those groups will receive meeting invitations. But they won't unless you update group settings to force Office 365 to send invitations to all members. The job is easily done with PowerShell, and we show how in this post.
  30. How to Store Teams Meeting Recordings in OneDrive for Business October 20, 2020 1:00 am - Teams gives Office 365 tenants the option to store meeting recordings in Stream or OneDrive for Business (including SharePoint Online). Now configurable through Teams meeting policies, new meeting recordings are dealt with like any other file, meaning that you can share recordings, apply labels, update metadata, and so on.
  31. Teams Now Has Basic Offline Capabilities October 19, 2020 1:00 am - In an update posted to Teams User Voice, Microsoft said that they had enabled offline capabilities for messaging with access to recent chats and channel conversations. This is good, but the problem is that Teams is much more than chats and offline access remains problematic for many of the components people access through Teams. Until all apps support offline access, functionality will remain limited.
  32. Native ARM64 Version of Teams Now Available October 16, 2020 1:45 pm - Users of ARM64 devices like the Surface Pro X can now download a native ARM64 Teams desktop client. According to users, the native client is faster and more stable than running the Teams 32-bit client under emulation. It's good news for people who like the battery life and mobile connectivity of ARM devices while also giving developers who might have ignored ARM on Windows up to now something to think about.
  33. Millions of Microsoft 365 Groups Fail Auto-Renewal Annually October 16, 2020 1:00 am - Among some interesting statistics offered at the Ignite 2020 conference, we learned that 79% of Microsoft 365 groups successfully auto-renewed because of their activity. That leaves 21% of groups which didn't meet the bar to be automatically renewed. Only groups within the scope of an expiration policy are included, but even so millions of groups weren't renewed. Is that a problem?
  34. New Exchange Online Admin Center Loses Some Magic, But It’s the Future October 15, 2020 1:00 am - Microsoft says that the new EAC is ready to use. While we don't deny the fact, we think some of the magic that existed in previous portals has gone. PowerShell is replaced by the Graph as the foundation for the EAC. Progress happens, but it's sad when a feature like command logging is left in the mists of the past.
  35. New Location for Teams Compliance Records Breaks Scripts October 14, 2020 8:31 am - Without saying anything, Microsoft changed where Microsoft 365 stores Teams compliance records in user and group mailboxes. The logic behind the change is impeccable even if it will cause PowerShell scripts to break. In addition, any ISV claiming to backup Teams by copying compliance records has some work to do.
  36. Teams Calendar Peek Gives Quick View to Upcoming Events October 13, 2020 7:44 am - The latest build of the Microsoft Teams desktop and browser clients include the ability for users to see the essential details of calendar events through a "peek." Single clicking on an event exposes the most commonly used information and some command buttons. It's a quick and easy way to find out what you need to know about an event. Also, Teams has finally shipped two features announced in June and July, examples of how things sometimes get delayed for different reasons.
  37. Managing Third-Party App Permissions in the Teams Admin Center October 12, 2020 4:00 am - The latest update for the Teams admin center includes the ability to manage the permissions used by third-party apps to access data via the Microsoft Graph. The updates also include the ability to manage resource specific consent (RSC) for Teams apps. While third-party apps ate the obvious target, LOB apps created by tenants are managed in the same way.
  38. Teams Offline Status Allows Users to Appear Invisible October 9, 2020 9:42 am - Teams is introducing a new Offline presence status this month to allow users to continue working while appearing unavailable and uncontactable to coworkers. The new status behaves differently to the Do Not Disturb presence, which gives coworkers some hope that you'll soon be online and available.
  39. Search the Office 365 Audit Log for Events Performed Against Objects October 8, 2020 8:47 am - The Office 365 audit log is a great source of information about what happens inside a Office 365 tenant. Searching the audit log takes practice, but it turns up lots of insight. This article covers how to use the ObjectIds and FreeText parameters to find information about what happens to an object,
  40. How to Control Default Creation of Online Meetings with OWA October 7, 2020 8:44 am - OWA calendar settings include the option to make online meetings the default. You can control whether online meetings are the default at an organization and mailbox level. Outlook desktop relies on system registry settings to know if online meetings should be created. An add-in loaded is loaded automatically to insert the neceessary data to make a meeting online if necessary.
  41. Debating the Need for Office 365 Backup October 6, 2020 7:01 am - Following some recent criticisms of how some ISVs use FUD to convince Office 365 tenants that they need backup services, AvePoint asked Office 365 for IT Pros to debate the issues. We go toe-to-toe on Wednesday, October 7 at 10 AM EST in a free online debate. Come along and join the fun.
  42. How to Prevent Attendees Unmuting Themselves in Teams Meetings October 5, 2020 7:31 am - Microsoft Teams allows meeting organizers to control if attendees can unmute themselves during meetings with a new control introduced in October 2020. The new control is likely to be more popular in education settings than in the corporate world, but sometimes it's nice to be able to take control and stop someone speaking.
  43. Microsoft Improves Labels for Planner Tasks. More Upgrades On the Way October 2, 2020 3:36 am - Microsoft has updated task labels in the Office 365 Planner app to make the labels more accessible and obvious (and therefore more useful). Changes due to arrive soon include an increase in the number of labels from six to 25, more intelligent attachments, and an upgrade to the Teams integration to allow tasks be created from chats and conversations.
  44. How to Create New Teams Using Customizable Templates October 1, 2020 8:02 am - The ability to create new Teams using customizable templates is now rolling out to Office 365 tenants. Microsoft provides 13 out-of-the-box templates and tenants can add their own to meet their needs. Microsoft thinks that templates will help standardize the design of Teams and drive best practice. Time will tell.
  45. Download the October 2020 Update for Office 365 for IT Pros September 30, 2020 3:28 pm - The October 2020 update is available for Office 365 for IT Pros, the most comprehensive and up-to-date coverage of Office 365 and its applications available for tenant administrators and solution architects. Subscribers can download the book from Gumroad.com (EPUB/PDF) or Amazon (Kindle). Please download and use the latest update to ensure that you work with the latest news.
  46. Breakout Rooms in Teams Meetings Help People to Work Smarter September 30, 2020 1:00 am - Microsoft announced that Teams meetings will support breakout rooms in Q4 2020 for commercial, education, and GCC Office 365 tenants. The new feature allows up to 50 sub-meetings (breakout rooms) to be created from a meeting. The meeting organizer can then assign people to rooms, which then host discussions. The rooms can be started and closed as needed, and participants in each room can share information with each other just like a regular Teams meeting.
  47. How to Use Exchange Dynamic Distribution Lists to Address Specific Mailboxes September 29, 2020 8:27 am - Exchange Online supports dynamic distribution lists, a great way to address sets of recipients found by resolving a filter against the directory. In this example, we explore how to create a dynamic distribution list to address mailboxes marked as preferring a specific beverage. It might even be useful some day!
  48. Useful Add Shortcut to OneDrive Feature for SharePoint Online Folders September 28, 2020 7:37 am - SharePoint Online now boasts the Add shortcut to OneDrive feature, which is a very usefuil way to assemble a set of points to important SharePoint folders in OneDrive. While Microsoft Search can find documents and Delve can display a set of documents added to boards, being able to find all your important folders in OneDrive for Business is a very effective way to have fast access to your most important files.
  49. New Outlook API Makes Email Signature Management Easier September 25, 2020 1:00 am - At the Ignite 2020 virtual conference, Microsoft ISV Code Two Software demonstrated a new Outlook API to make email signature management easier across all Outlook clients. The Signature API supports web add-ins that work on all Outlook platforms to allow users to select which corporate email signature to apply before sending messages. The new API should be available at the end of 2020 and we can expect updates from multiple ISVs in the email signature management space to exploit the new capability.
  50. Change to Outlook Groups Displays High Unread Counts September 24, 2020 1:00 am - Outlook for Windows has supported Microsoft 365 Groups since 2015. The developers chose a seen/unseen model for Groups, but now Outlook has switched to a read/unread model, meaning that the unread counts for Groups can suddenly seem much higher than before. It's a one-time change that aligns Outlook desktop with OWA and Outlook Mobile and there's an easy way to set all unread items to be read. But you might want to tell people that this change is coming!
  51. Bringing the Active Directory Drink Attribute to Azure AD September 23, 2020 1:00 am - The Active Directory schema includes a drink attribute. This didn't make the transition to Azure AD, but you can use one of the custom attributes to make drink show up on Microsoft 365 profile cards. This might not seem like a good use of your time, but it's actually an illustration of how to put the Microsoft Graph Explorer tool to good use.
  52. Microsoft Updates the Exchange Online Management Module (V2.0.3) September 22, 2020 1:00 am - Version 2.0.3 of the Exchange Online Management PowerShell module is now available for download. The new release contains many useful enhancements including full support for certificate-based authentication, the ability to restrict cmdlets loaded into a session, and support for simultaneous connections to Exchange Online and the Security and Compliance Center.
  53. Making Outlook the Default Mail App for iOS14 September 21, 2020 1:00 am - Apple allows iOS14 users to select a different email app to be the default. The switch to Outlook is easy, and you can also pin Outlook to the Home Screen to make it easier and faster to access the app. Remember to check for users running iOS12 because Microsoft no longer supports these devices are for Outlook updates. Fortunately, PowerShell helps to find devices running iOS12 by checking their mobile device connection status.
  54. Microsoft Launches V1.1.6 of PowerShell Module for Teams September 18, 2020 12:10 am - Microsoft has launched version 1.1.6 of the PowerShell module for Teams (MicrosoftTeams). The new module makes the Skype for Business Online connector unnecessary because it contains the New-CsOnlineSession cmdlet needed to create a new session to use the cmdlets used to manage Teams policies.
  55. Why Microsoft Extends Office 365 Notification Dates For New Functionality September 17, 2020 8:56 am - Microsoft publishes notifications about new Office 365 functionality in the Microsoft 365 message center. Sometimes the dates advertised for the delivery of the new software are pushed out when Microsoft updates the original notifications. All of which means that tenant administrators need to spend a little time tracking updates to make sure that they're prepared when Microsoft eventually delivers.
  56. Teams Badge Count Service Makes App Pill Counts More Reliable September 16, 2020 8:00 am - We bet you never knew about the importance of app pill counts. Well, the badge counts shown by apps like Teams are guides for users to know when new information is available. It's important enough for Teams to invest in a new Teams Badge Count service to improve the accuracy of the new item counts shown to users. Here's what's happening.
  57. Monitoring Guest Accounts Added to Teams September 15, 2020 7:40 am - You can easily add people from outside your Office 365 tenant to the membership of Teams, but some oversight of who those people are and what teams they join is probably needed. This PowerShell script shows how to find records in the Office 365 audit log and figure out if they relate to the creation of new guest accounts before sending email asking to justify the addition of the new account.
  58. How to Report Office 365 Account Activity Using the Graph API and PowerShell September 14, 2020 12:06 am - PowerShell hash tables are very efficient at retrieving data, which is just what's needed when thousands of Office 365 accounts need processing. Our script to analyze usage data extracted from the Microsoft Graph was turbo-charged when we replaced list objects with hash tables, all of which makes it much easier to identify underused Office 365 accounts and save some money on licensing spend.
  59. Preview of Teams Migration API Has Slack in Its Cross-Hairs September 11, 2020 7:39 am - A preview of a new migration API for Teams is with ISVs. The API is to migrate data from other chat platforms (Slack is the obvious target) to Teams. There's still no news about solid APIs for tenant to tenant migration or backup and restore for Teams. Microsoft is really interested in moving people off competitor platforms to Teams. It seems they are less interested in doing some of the heavy lifting involved in tenant management and restructuring.
  60. Teams Rolls Out New Conversation Button September 10, 2020 7:02 am - Adding a New conversation button to the Teams client user interface might seem like an insignificant UI tweak. However, keeping replies with their topics is important because it helps users find information and helps compliance searches assemble full conversations. Not many would think about how a UI change affects compliance and eDiscovery searches, but we do...
  61. Replacing Videos in Microsoft Stream September 9, 2020 9:19 am - Sometimes the videos uploaded to Microsoft Stream need some post-production work. You can replace a video with a new file and keep some but not all of its attributes. The operation is straightforward and easy, but be sure to keep a copy of the original video just in case you need to revert to it.
  62. Creating Customized Badges for the Microsoft Teams Praise App September 8, 2020 9:25 am - The Microsoft Teams Praise app is used to acknowledge the achievements of people. Different badges exist to highlight various ways people contribute to teams. Now you can create custom badges and publish them for use in the Praise app. All sorts of interesting ideas come to mind. How artistic can you be?
  63. Speeding Access to Office 365 PowerShell Data Using Where Instead of Where-Object September 7, 2020 9:28 am - The Office 365 for IT Pros eBook includes many PowerShell examples, and while we mostly concentrate on illustrating the principles of how PowerShell is used to solve problems, we do care about performance. Which is why we're always interested in finding ways to speed up our code. This this article we explore how to use the Where method to replace the Where-Object cmdlet to filter objects. The good news is that it's an easy way to get better code performance.
  64. Using Planner in Offline Mode September 4, 2020 9:30 am - Microsoft Planner is able to work in offline mode when disconnected from the network. In this article, we describe what the browser client can and cannot do when it's not connected. The thing is that Microsoft hasn't told anyone that Planner can work offline. No blog, no documentation, and no Office 365 notification. Isn't that strange?
  65. Teams Upgrades File Sharing to be Consistent with Office 365 September 3, 2020 12:11 pm - Teams is adopting the common file sharing mechanism used by Office 365 applications. The change is now going on and should be deployed worldwide by the end of September. With Teams in the fold, we can say that sharing is done consistently across Office 365, which can't be a bad thing.
  66. Teams Gets New Meeting Pre-Join Experience September 2, 2020 3:22 pm - Microsoft has spruced up the Teams meeting pre-join screen to gather all the settings that participants can use to configure their audio and video for a meeting. The browser interface is slightly different because browsers don't support background effects. The new screens are better than before and are a good example of how to apply rationalization and simplification to UX design.
  67. September 2020 Update Available for Office 365 for IT Pros September 1, 2020 2:00 am - Files for the September 2020 update of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook, the only always-updated book available for Office 365, are now available. Subscribers can download their updates from Gumroad.com or Amazon Kindle.
  68. Word Online’s Clever Transcription August 31, 2020 2:38 am - Word Online now boasts the ability to generate transcripts by listening to meetings or conversations and feeding the recording to Azure Cognitive Services. While the thought of using voice-generated text might seem strange at first, Word's ability to capture text through dictation or transcription is surprisingly good.
  69. Updated Version of the Graph User Statistics Script Available August 29, 2020 12:21 pm - Office 365 usage data for several workloads is available through the Microsoft Graph. A PowerShell script is available to grab Graph data and use it to figure out if accounts are in active use. V1.2 of GetGraphUserStatisticsReport.PS1 is available in GitHub and should be better performing when processing thousands of accounts.
  70. Teams Search Results Now Include Files August 28, 2020 2:00 am - A recent change to Teams search means that matching files are included in the autosuggested list generated as users type in search terms. It's a small but good change. The files data comes from SharePoint Online sites the user can access and their personal OneDrive for Business account.
  71. Finding Teams and Yammer Groups with PowerShell August 27, 2020 2:00 am - Microsoft 365 Groups are used by applications like Teams and Yammer. The PowerShell Get-UnifiedGroup cmdlet finds groups, but can it find the groups enabled for Teams and Yammer? Here's some idle musing on the topic which might or might not interest you.
  72. When a Teams Retention Policy Goes Bad and Data Disappears August 26, 2020 1:12 am - A change made to an Office 365 retention policy for Teams personal chats in the KPMG tenant removed data for 145,000 users. That's unfortunate, and it underlines the need for admins to understand how retention policies work. Maybe the people involve did and it was a simple slip that could happen to anyone, but perhaps it will cause tenant admins to reflect on how they make changes to organization configurations.
  73. Sorting Out Teams, Conversations, Topics, and Replies August 25, 2020 12:03 am - Teams channel conversations are composed of threads formed by base topics and replies. Unfortunately, the Teams client UI makes it easy for users to add topics when they should post replies. The good news is that the Teams development VP at Microsoft has admitted that something needs to be done. That, and a positive response to a User Voice request, makes us think that something will happen soon.
  74. Come in Internet Explorer – Your Time is Up August 24, 2020 12:42 am - Office 365 Tenants need to stop people using Internet Explorer. On November 30, Teams stops support for IE11; nine months later, the rest of the Microsoft 365 apps cease support. According to Microsoft, the only browser in town is the new Edge (which has an IE mode), but most will keep on using Chrome, Firefox, Brave, or Safari as they do today.
  75. Teams Improves its Fit and Finish August 21, 2020 1:00 am - Some recent small changes in Teams will make users happy because the product's fit and finish is improving. Speaker attribution for live captions makes conversations easier to follow and faster updates from Exchange mean that out of office notifications and change in presence states are picked up faster. These aren't earthshattering changes, but they do make Teams more pleasant to use.
  76. Questioning Six Reasons Why Backing up Office 365 is Critical August 20, 2020 10:02 am - The need (or not) for a backup solution for Office 365 data is hotly debated. Although good reasons can exist for buying a backup service, some of the reasons advanced by backup vendors are classic FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). A recent report issued by a major backup vendor contains some points that deserve close examination. Here's what we think.
  77. Blocking Email Forwarding from Power Automate August 19, 2020 9:17 am - Power Automate (Flow) can forward email from Exchange Online mailboxes to external recipients. This isn't a great idea if you want email kept within the control of your data governance framework. Power Automate now inserts x-headers in the email it sends, which allows the use of transport (mail flow) rules to detect and reject these messages if required.
  78. Microsoft Drops Office 365 Auditing for Sway August 18, 2020 3:45 am - Office 365 notification MC220283 says that Microsoft has retired support for organizations to audit Sway activities. In other words, no more Sway events in the Office 365 audit log. This might or might not be a problem for your tenant, depending on how much use you make of Sway and if you have the necessary licenses. But the real problem is the lack of communication before Microsoft removed the feature. That's not good.
  79. Teams Makes Background Effects Persistent Across Meetings August 17, 2020 12:00 am - In a surprise update, Microsoft announced that Teams meetings now use persistent background effects. Once you choose an effect, Teams will use it in meetings when video is enabled. It's a small but nice change that will help users. We need more of this kind of update across Office 365.
  80. Planner Highlights Plan Changes but No Sign of Auditing Support August 14, 2020 8:26 am - The Planner browser UI now displays a notice to users when someone else has changed tasks in a plan. This is useful, but it would be much better if Microsoft enabled support for the Office 365 audit log so that events happening in Planner flowed into the audit log. There's no sign of that happening, despite requests for three years or more.
  81. The 1-2-3 of Exchange Online Certificate Based Authentication for PowerShell August 13, 2020 9:13 am - Exchange Online PowerShell is a critical automation tool for many Office 365 tenants. In 2021, Microsoft will remove basic authentication for PowerShell, so it's time to change over to modern authentication. For scripts that run as batch or background jobs, that means converting to certificate-based authentication. In this post, we explore how to get the self-signed cert to glue everything together.
  82. Analyzing Quarantined Messages with PowerShell August 12, 2020 9:06 am - Exchange Online Protection puts problem messages into quarantine if it suspects that they contain spam, malware, or a phishing attempt. Instead of using the Security and Compliance Center GUI to work with quarantined messages, you can analyze details of quarantined messages with PowerShell to create some basic statistics and find messages that should be released.
  83. Reviewing Email Quarantined by Exchange Online Protection August 11, 2020 8:18 am - Exchange Online Protection (EOP) quarantines suspicious messages to stop spam, malware, and phishing email arriving into Exchange Online inboxes. Administrators can review quarantined messages. Reviewing messages can find some problems, like messages that shouldn't have been stopped. But reviews take time, and sometimes other stuff gets in the way, which means that quarantined messages expire without anyone ever asking the question "why."
  84. Teams Meeting Policy Restricts Automatic Meeting Joins to Organizers August 10, 2020 8:45 am - Microsoft has updated the Teams meeting policy to restrict automatic meeting joining (aka lobby bypass) to organizers. This is likely to be most popular with schools, but enterprirse will see value in being able to force participants to pass through the meeting lobby before joining in some circumstances. And remember, a meeting organizer can always change the settings before the meeting begins.
  85. MailTips: Useful Guidance for Good User Email Habits August 7, 2020 8:48 am - Exchange Online generates automatic MailTips to advise email creators that recipients are out of offce or the message is addressed to too many recipients. Custom MailTips for mailboxes, distribution lists, and other mail-enabled objects, including language-specific translations, give additional guidance to users as they create messages. Overall, MailTips are worth spending some time on to get right within an Office 365 tenant.
  86. Customizing Privacy Controls for Microsoft Graph Insights with the Graph Explorer August 6, 2020 9:32 am - The Microsoft Graph collects huge amounts of signals about Office 365 user activity. Some of that data is used to generate insights into information that might be interesting to users. You can already disable insights in Delve, and now Microsoft allows you to disable insights elsewhere in Office 365. The downside is you've got to patch the Graph organization settings to limit insights, and that might just be outside the ability of the average tenant administrator. Unless they use the Graph Explorer to do the job.
  87. Customizing the Office 365 Profile Card with Graph Explorer August 5, 2020 7:59 am - Microsoft announced that Office 365 tenants can customize the user profile card, which is nice. The only thing is that an update to the Microsoft Graph is done to apply the customization. Most tenant administrations probably aren't literate with Graph programming, so that presents a problem. Until you realize that the Graph Explorer can be used to do the job without you needing to write a single line of code.
  88. Petri GET-IT for Teams Virtual Conference August 4, 2020 1:44 pm - Petri.com is running a free 1-day virtual conference on the topic of Microsoft Teams on August 12. All are welcome to attend. The jokes will be awful, the timing lousy, and the information insightful. That's a pretty explosive mixture, delivered by experts (well, except me) packed full of knowledge. So much so that their heads swell on an ongoing basis...
  89. Azure AD My Sign-Ins Activity Report Now Generally Available August 4, 2020 7:24 am - Microsoft announced that the Azure AD Sign-in Activity Report for end users is now generally available. Good progress has been made since the preview, but some problems still persist. It's fair to ask end users to review their sign-in activity, but to have a chance of catching problems, the data you ask people to review must be understandable by them, and sometimes the data in this report isn't.
  90. Microsoft 365 Admin Center Manages Default Authentication Policy for Exchange Online August 3, 2020 10:00 am - The Microsoft 365 admin center includes the ability to manage settings for the default Exchange Online authentication policy. You might have other policies to allow selective access with basic authentication to some protocols; these policies must be managed with PowerShell. Authentication policies are part of the journey to eliminate basic authentication from Exchange Online, now expected to happen in mid-2021.
  91. August Update for Office 365 for IT Pros (2021 Edition) August 1, 2020 12:59 pm - The August 2020 update for Office 365 for IT Pros (2021 Edition) is now available. Subscribers can download the updated files from Gumroad,com. Kindle buyers can ask Amazon to make the update available to them. The August update includes changes to 18 of the 24 content chapters, which is pretty typical for the kind of change that happens inside Office 365.
  92. Microsoft’s Worldwide Push to Convince Office 365 users to Install Outlook Mobile July 31, 2020 7:16 am - Microsoft plans to post notices in OWA to tell end users that their Office 365 licenses include Outlook Mobile. The hope is that more people will use Outlook Mobile instead of EAS or IMAP4-based clients like the default iOS mail client. Notices will appear in OWA and later Outlook desktop, but the good news is that you can disable these notices with a simple change to the tenant's organization configuration for Exchange Online.
  93. Finding Orphaned OneDrive for Business Accounts July 30, 2020 9:49 am - OneDrive for Business accounts belonging to ex-employees can be reassigned to others during the deletion workflow, but orphan accounts can accumulate over time. This post describes a PowerShell script to find orphan OneDrive accounts and add a user to the site so that anything there can be retrieved.
  94. Backing Up Exchange Online Mailboxes to PSTs Continues to be an Awful Idea July 29, 2020 9:26 am - Characterizing backup of Exchange Online mailboxes to PSTs as brain-dead might have been harsh, but it's an accurate assessment of the worth of this idea. Plenty of cloud-based backup offerings exist that can process Exchange Online data more securely and at scale. If you want to backup Office 365, stay away from PSTs and use a different product, after asking some questions to ensure that the backups deliver the value you expect.
  95. Exchange Online Protection Restricts Tenants from Sending Unprovisioned Email July 28, 2020 12:15 am - Exchange Online Protection monitors outbound email to pick up signs of potential compromise in Office 365 tenants. This can lead to EOP restricting a tenant's ability to send outbound email and force the administrators to check for compromised accounts or connectors and other problems before contacting Microsoft Support to ask them to lift the restriction.
  96. When Exchange Online Protection Blocks Email Senders July 27, 2020 8:50 am - Exchange Online Protection monitors email traffic in and out of Office 365 tenants. When a mailbox exceeds limits, it might end up being restricted, such as in the case when the mailbox might be compromised. We tried to find out when Exchange Online Protection restricted mailboxes and what to do afterwards. Here's what we discovered.
  97. Microsoft Cloud Growth Continues Unabated July 24, 2020 9:38 am - The Microsoft FY20 Q4 results included good news for its cloud segments with increasing activity, numbers, and revenue. Although we didn't get new user numbers for Office 365 and Teams, Microsoft included some other interesting data about Azure Active Directory and EMS in its narrative.
  98. Microsoft Trims Set of Calendar Events Created from Email July 23, 2020 8:55 am - Exchange Online will soon drop processing email to create calendar events for things like restaurant reservations. The good news is that travel details are still supported, meaning that you won't have to extract and enter details like flight numbers, departure times, and so on. And notifications for your Amazon deliveries continue too.
  99. Teams and Memory Management July 22, 2020 8:06 am - The Electron-based Microsoft Teams has a reputation of being a memory hog. Does the moniker fit? Well, it all depends on how you view how the Chromium memory model works. Some won't like the way memory is grabbed to cache data while others will think it quite reasonable to use available memory in this way.
  100. Office 365 Won’t Block Old Clients But End in Sight for Office 2013 July 17, 2020 9:08 am - Microsoft posted a reminder that connections from Office 2013 will no longer be supported for Office 365 service from October 13, 2020. Microsoft won't take any action to block legacy clients, but the writing is on the wall. Office 365 tenants need to decide how to replace Office 2013 by either upgrading to Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise (click to run) or switching to browser clients like OWA.
  101. How Outlook’s Notification Pane Displays Details of Office 365 Incidents July 16, 2020 12:16 am - Outlook for Windows boasts a new admin notification panel where incidents affecting the Office 365 tenant show up. It's an interesting idea, but you wonder if there aren't more important things for the developers to work on, especially as many other ways exist for administrators to find out when problems happen.

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