Cloud Computing Interview with Microsoft MVP – @AndyMalone #office365 #microsoft

Firstly, I’d like to thank Andy for taking the time to write a little something for the Guru365 blog. Andy is a very busy man and every second he has donated to this post can’t be thanked enough.

Andy’s background –

Andy Malone (UK) Microsoft MVP, MCT MCITP, MCSE, CTT+andymalone

Andy Malone is the CEO of Quality Training Ltd and founder of both the Dive Deeper Technology and Cybercrime Security events. Based in Scotland, Andy is a popular international event speaker and Technology evangelist with over 15 years’ experience. Andy was also the 2006 winner of the Microsoft TechEd Speaker Idol contest.

Andy has delivered technical and security content to thousands of delegates worldwide at various technical conferences, such as Microsoft TechEd, Connections and Tech-days. His passionate style of delivery, combined with a sense of fun has become his trademark.

Although his primary focus is always for security. Andy loves to talk about the Windows platform, Exchange and Office technologies. And with knowledge dating back to the MS-DOS 2 and Windows 2.0 era there is often an interesting story to be told. But technology never sleeps and Andy continues to work with the Microsoft product teams to create and deliver ground breaking material on Windows 8 and beyond. Recent projects have included security training & consulting in Kuwait, Dubai and the US for Government, Military and civilian clients. And more recently worldwide partner training for Microsoft’s new Office 365 cloud based platform.

Follow Andy on Twitter: @AndyMalone

 

Hi Andy, and many thanks for taking the time to talk to us about cloud computing, your experiences as an international event speaker and my personal favourite, Office365.

 

  • You have been involved with Office 365 with regards to training courses from the early days, how have you found the product and what do you see as the major benefits of using a cloud product, such as Office365?

Andy Malone – Since its conception, Office 365 has come on a long way. Moving to the cloud was often seen as a complex procedure. But Office 365 has allayed those fears in many ways. In terms of migrating to the cloud there are a large number of tools and partners that provide simple web based services to assist in moving your data to the cloud. In terms of the other benefits I would have to say having your data constantly backed up and deing able to access your data 24/7 and on any device is definitely a win win. Of course another benefit is the cost. You don’t need to invest in a complex and expensive infrastructure. O365 uses a simple subscription method so you don’t need to worry about costly licencing agreements and replacing expensive hardware.

 

  • Wave15 has been the latest offering for Office365, have you noted any major improvements to Wave14 and any exciting features that you particularly like?

Andy Malone – Wave 15 brings some major changes. Firstly the Office 2013 Professional Plus software that is included in the subscription is now delivered by App-V technologies. In other words it’s streamed and cached rather than permanently installed. This “service” rather than a fixed licence means that you will always have access to the latest versions of MS Office. Next Security! This is something that has really come on a long way. Firstly all email is secured with Bitlocker drive encryption at the data centre. This includes all the databases and log files. But also transport encryption with EAP/TLS cryptography. Compliance is a big word these days and Office 365 has made a lot of improvements. Data Loss Prevention, tracking, auditing and retention policies are just some of the new features that are integrated throughout Exchange & SharePoint.

 

  • Having thoroughly enjoyed your course for Office365 earlier in the year, have you enjoyed teaching technical personnel the content for the Office365 course?

Andy Malone – Absolutely it’s been a blast 🙂

 

  • Are there any particular areas that have been difficult or demanding with regards to teaching the product?

Andy Malone – There are many companies offering 365 training, but they use eLearning type labs. Now whilst this fine, there is no substitute for hands on experience. That’s why my labs are the real thing. Live IP Addresses, certificates etc. There is no experience like real experience!

 

  • Do you think there is enough content available for people to be learning the product from an administration point of view?

Andy Malone – This is difficult. I know many people who want to write courseware, but the problem is that it goes out of date very quickly as the service constantly changes. (Notice I said service and not product! That’s an important distinction here). So to answer your question it is coming but it has been slow purely because of what’s involved.

 

  • With regards to content for learning, do you have any links or videos that you would be willing to share with us that may make the process of certification and troubleshooting easier?

Andy Malone – Gosh there are so many. But a good place to start is the community pages on the Office 365 website. Also follow the product group blogs, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint etc.

 

  • What are the major topics you teach in your Office365 course and after completing the course what kind of certifications are available to administrators?

Andy Malone – Topics covered include deployment, Identity Management, ADFS, Dirsync and Exchange & SharePoint. In terms of certification. You can go for the MCITP Certification in Office 365. 70-321 & 70-323

 

  • Cloud Computing has had a massive impact over the past 12 months, how do you think this will change the way businesses in the UK work for the future?

Andy Malone – It’s like that movie Gun fight at the OK Corral. You can run but you can’t hide. Sooner or later I believe the cloud will be the norm.

 

  • As an MVP you speak at many major Microsoft events, for the general administrator what are the benefits of attending events such as TechEd?

Andy Malone – This is an easy one. Knowledge. As well the ability to meet your peers, attend great sessions and be one step ahead of the game.

 

  • I’m sure as a speaker you have thoroughly enjoyed these speaking events, do you have any particular highlights from years gone by?

Andy Malone – My first TechEd I remember feeling so intimated by these amazing speakers, Minasi, Riley, Russinovich and now over the years they are my friends. So that’s got to be a good thing right?

 

  • As a worldwide consultant and trainer you’ve had the opportunity to travel the world, do you have a favourite location and why?

Andy Malone – Iceland, definitely my number 1. You can experience true peace there. Other favourites include Dubai, Kuwait, Norway, Durban in South Africa and Bulgaria, they were really nice people.

 

  • How have mobile devices and cloud services/computing assisted you in your job travelling around the world?

Andy Malone – Communication is key, especially in today’s modern world. My phone and iPad go everywhere (as does my Windows 8 Laptop of course :))

 

  • I very much appreciate your time, for our readers do you have any social media identities that our users can follow you on in the future? (Twitter/Facebook Pages/Websites/Blogs etc)

Andy Malone – Twitter @AndyMalone Pretty much everything is there. Also my new Cybercrime website. www.cybercrimesecurityforum.org

 

Andy is a keen Tweeter, so well worth following his tweets on Twitter!

Again, many thanks Andy for taking the time to answer questions on Cloud Computing and Office365.

OWA for iPad guide – #office365

The iPad OWA App

After the release of the much anticipated OWA app for iPhone and iPad, I decided to download and see if it ticks the boxes over the native iPad email client.

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Firstly started off with finding the app in the AppStore – as you’d imagine ‘owa’ in search pings it up fairly quickly.

From here I downloaded and installed the app

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Entered my email address and password – in this case I used my Office365 subscription for work emails.

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We’re then welcomed to the OWA app with a short swipe introduction into where buttons are and what we can do in OWA.

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When we’ve gone through this we can select ‘go to inbox’ where we see a very ‘Outlook 2013’ interface, which in my opinion (admittedly after a little getting used to), is definitely the most uncluttered Outlook yet. Very clear and plain. Personally I’m not looking for a lot of clutter, the content for me is the most important, and emails are only as good as the content you receive. 🙂

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The nicest feature for me would be the bottom left hand corner button, which takes us to another ‘pane’ where you can select your Mail, Calendar, People, or Options areas. Having this on a separate pane certainly keeps with the clear and uncluttered look for OWA.

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Moving into the calendar we’re met with another clear screen.

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People shows us our contacts and groups – I’ve used the groups as a screenshot as I’m sure my contacts wouldn’t want their emails available to all 🙂

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Finally options;

  • Allows Automatic replies
  • Change Time Zone
  • Email Signature
  • Set a passcode
  • Synchronise Contacts
  • (Terms and Conditions / Feedback)

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Another handy feature is the ability to go from a compact view to a full screen view just by clicking the ‘Goggle’ button.

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Hope you’ve enjoyed the tour of the OWA app for iPad, as you would imagine a very similar scenario for the iPhone app which I believe is only available to iPhone 4S onwards.

Any questions please comment and I will do my best to answer.

 

Worldwide Collaboration – Office365 #collaboration

English: Cloud Computing Image

English: Cloud Computing Image (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The beautiful nature of how Office365 allows collaboration is one of the prime reasons so many people and businesses are moving to Office 365. It allows users to work within their teams and departments on the same documents, whether they work in the office as ocassional home users or complete remote workers. In the world of the internet there is no reason to have a segregation of work even though users may not necessarily see one another.

Office 365 ticks many boxes for collaboration as outlined below;

  • A way to make files accessible to the remote worker.
  • A means of assigning and sharing tasks, appointments, notes and more…
  • An online meeting space, groups can use to call in or gather together.
  • A shared site that can be accessed through numerous tools when working with other team members from other countries or multilingual documents.

 

 

In Office 365 you can clearly see that it pushes the boundaries of working from an office, huge distances to commute and the ability to work just as efficiently remotely and on the move as being in the office. The boundaries are broken by the integration of many “apps” which seamlessly gel together to provide a suite of cloud-based tools. I refer to them as apps as in Office 365 the idea of Microsoft Office on a PC has been stretched beyond the desktop box – mobile devices such as the Microsoft Surface, iPad, laptops and more recently powerful SmartPhones have paved the way for users to collaborate wherever and whenever.

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