August update for Office 365 – courtesy of blogs.office.com

Breakdown of the new Office365 features made available through August.Office365 - Cloud Solutions from Microsoft

Office365 Home Premium & Office365 University updates:

  • OneNote for Android now supports English QWERTY keyboards

Office365 for business updates:

  • Exchange Online mailbox sizes are doubling – increase in size from the original 25GB to 50GB. Kiosk, shared and resource mailboxes will also have some increase in size.
  • SkyDrive Pro enhancements – Increases default storage from 7GB to 25GB. Admins are now given option to increase this further. Upload of individual files not has a limit of 2GB. Increase in the default retention period from 30days to 90 days. Versioning has been turned on by default for newly created SkyDrive Pro Libraries.
  • Ability to easily switch plans – Switch Plans Wizard helps customers upgrade to higher plans within their service plan family.
  • Message Center – Admins have the ability to view important service updates from within their Office365 Admin Center.
  • Remote PowerShell for Lync Online – Improved management and automation.
  • Lync Mobile Apps – Mobile Apps for iPhone and Windows Phone now support viewing shared meeting content such as PowerPoint slides or a desktop.
  • Cascading controls in Access Web App – Build Drop-down selectors that show values based on previous selections.

Note* – Some of the above updates may take time to show up in your Office 365 account as they are being rolled out worldwide. Not all updates apply to every plan.

Many thanks to — Andy O’Donald @andyodonald at Microsoft for the update on the blogs.office.com website, appreciate your time in updating us!

Interesting Microsoft ‘Enterprise Social’ InfoGraphic #Office365 #guru365

Interesting InfoGraphic with regards to the history and future of Enterprise Social platforms, the introduction of Yammer has been a major acquisition for Microsoft as it further expands their Enterprise portfolio for collaboration and social connections for businesses.

 

Enjoy

 

Microsoft Infographic - Enterprise Social

Microsoft Infographic – Enterprise Social

 

Benefits of Office365 – @office365 guru365.net

Having completed a little research over the past few days, I thought I’d collate the main benefits I have found of using Office365 for your business and as a home user.

Although there are many websites that state these benefits I have noticed that some are missed depending on the website you browse to. Hopefully this is a more complete list of benefits of using Office 365.

 

Generating greater productivity within your workforce – Making the end-user and administrator experiences of Office 365 the best they can, Microsoft have invested heavily in ensuring that processes are streamlined. Increasing the simplicity of day to day tasks has a huge impact on productivity and this is exactly what Office365 provides.

From anywhere, on any device – You are no longer tied to one PC to use and edit your documents. You are now able to effectively change from device to device with synchronisation of your documents through SkyDrive and a centralised store in SharePoint.

Enterprise-class Security and reliability – Microsoft has taken on a large responsibility for its customers data and as such you can be assured that Microsoft will prevent issues with your data. Their multi-billion dollar infrastructure gives you peace of mind and allowing your IT team to concentrate on moving IT forward rather than picking up pieces and fighting fires.

Familiarity of products – The good thing about Office365 is that there isn’t that steep learning curve when implementing a new product. Programs like Word, Excel and Outlook all look and feel the same so the transition is very similar to the ‘old ways’ but through the cloud.

Cost is unbeatable in like-for-like – The price plans available for the Office365 products cater for all levels of use, from a basic home user setup to a full on Enterprise SharePoint and Exchange solution. With that cost you haven’t got a reoccurring investment in new products, you will be kept on the latest version for as long as your subscription lasts.

Scalability generates new business – The benefits of a subscription based approach is that if you require a new user or even 100 new users, you can simply add them to your current plan (unless of course limited by the plan you chose originally, but even then moving to an alternative plan to accommodate these users is possible). This gives businesses a more rapid approach to growth and can accommodate new users without infrastructure or capital expense (Office Licenses) all at once.

Disaster Recovery built in – Office 365 with its distributed datacentre architecture provides excellent redundancy, this brings your data as close to disaster proof as possible. Microsoft financially back their 99.99% uptime claim, and continually look to improve this figure.

Thinking Green – According to reports, in-house server systems can consume more than 80% more power than a datacentre equivalent solution hosted by Microsoft. Each server removed from your in-house setup can save approximately 4 tons of carbon dioxide.

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.

New Guru365 Facebook Page available

Hi all,

I’ve recently delved into the ‘Page’ function of Facebook and I like the compatibility between my posts on WordPress and Facebook (lets not forget twitter) so if you use Facebook more than other social networking sites then please feel free to like my page (link below) and WordPress will post any new articles directly to Facebook (so I don’t have to manually!)

Thanks again for all your support and don’t forget to like and share me 😉

 

https://www.facebook.com/365guru

Green Computing – Office365 #greencomputing

English: PS20 and PS10 in Andalusia, Spain

English: PS20 and PS10 in Andalusia, Spain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cloud computing offers an amazing amount of energy saving, below I will describe the reasons why.

Office 365 and the Microsoft Cloud infrastructure offers effectively ‘collaborative computing’, Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in their datacenter infrastructures from which they lease this as a service (IaaS, SaaS, PaaS). The requirements for companies of all sizes to purchase, maintain and refresh their own infrastructures moves the financial aspect from a capital expense to an operational expense. This switch to operational expense allows companies to focus on innovation rather than maintain and administer. For a growing business this is ideal as a extremely well planned infrastructure refresh may still not last the porjected timescale due to unprecedented growth or infrastructure no longer able to cope with improving resources, drastically reducing the life-span of the expense. With Cloud computing , and in this case Office 365, the idea of ‘leasing of’ or ‘subscribing to’ a service allows businesses to concern on the operational costs and maintenance without having to plan for major upgrades and changing the way the company moulds around these new upgrades.

Adding new users?

Simply purchase an additional subscription.

Require more file storage?

Purchase additional cloud storage (without worrying about the infrastructure requirements that you would find with on-site equipment)

 

In the energy efficiency scenario, Microsoft are effectively paying the bill when it comes to their hosted cloud infrastructure. Servers consume a huge amount of power, along with the disaster recover equipment this can amount to a massive expense for any company, by moving to the cloud you can increase your power savings in terms of ‘green motives’ or simply the cost of energy.

Microsoft have greatly invested in their datacenters and with that utilise cutting-edge technology with regards to power consumption and green initiatives. At this kind of scale (1000’s of servers/hosts) Microsoft are able to utilise extremely advanced technologies, I will try to give you a good example of this below;

Imagine at 5:30pm, users are logging off their PC’s, laptops and are shutting down their machines, the server room however doesn’t have this advantage of being turned off, they need 24/7 power and no doubt a backup routine is deployed during the evenings. No shut down or home time for the servers, so they are sat there churning away, perhaps a little less ‘stress’ than during the day.

With the cloud computing scenario, time and power savings mean everything, in these huge scales, running hardly used servers is effectively throwing money away as well as annoying the environmentalists. In this scenario resource scheduling becomes amazingly effective. so we go back to our 5:30pm shutdown, but on this occassion the technology hosting the Virtual infrastructure kicks in, instead of sitting there half used, it will begin to migrate VM’s that no longer require resources to the same host, so although as a whole they may be using quite a lot of resource, it will enable hosts to be powered down and be sat in a ‘power saving’ state awaiting resources requirements to increase and as such power up from their slumber. Again, getting to the scale of this, you could effectively save power on as an example, 100 hosts – these hosts being the beefiest and most cutting edge servers available, are going to have requirements for a large amount of power, effectively turning these off when not used, is a god send to the idea of cloud computing. Why leave the light on in the attic if you have no intention of going there?

 

So that is effectively how these datacentres work from a green perspective, but from the company utilising this infrastructure, what do they save?

  • Downsize or offset office space.
  • Downsize onsite infrastructure requirements.
  • Expand the ability for users to work remotely (or globally dependent on your requirements)
  • Support the mobile workforce.
  • Reduce consumables use (printing, ink, paper, file storage costs).
  • Reduce hardware (desktop computers/server systems/UPS’s/cabling)

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.

SkyDrive Pro Synchronisation issues #skydrive

skydrive

skydrive (Photo credit: Doroty cielu)

I have noticed some people have had issues with their SkyDrive Pro synchronisation when deploying Office across their workforce, not entirely sure of the reason but have found some posts that seem to have rectified the issues;

Below are the steps I have ran through to resolve synchronisation issues;

 

To begin try the first 4 steps to see if this resolves your issue.

1. In SkyDrive Pro select “Stop Syncing a Folder”

2. Delete the SkyDrive folder on the local machine

3. Clear all browsing history in IE

4. Use Disk Clean up to remove temporary files

 

If you are still experiencing issues please try the following, I would recommend an administrator complete these tasks if you are experiencing this as a regular user.

 

1. Ensure that any Office processes are not running, groove.exe (SkyDrive Pro), msouc.exe, msosync.exe, office library sync,…

2. Open Windows explorer and browse to

C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\Spw

C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\15.0\OfficeFileCache

Delete all the contents.

3. Reconfigure a document library which you want to sync.

 

I believe this will resolve the issue, possibly a cache corruption causing problems with the uploading of files and stalling the queue, any comments or input, please post 🙂

Lync Server 2013 – Brief Overview #lync2013

Below is the list of server roles available to your Lync 2013 on-premises environment;

  • Back-End Server
  • Front-End Server
  • Standard Edition Server
  • Director
  • Mediation Server
  • Edge Server
  • Persistent Chat Compliance Back End Server
  • Persistent Chat Server
  • Persistent Chat Back End Server

Lync 2013 Clients;

  • Lync 2013
  • Lync 2013 Basic
  • Lync 2013 Web App
  • Lync Win Store App
  • Lync 2013 Mobile
  • Lync 2013 Phone Edition (being phased out)

Administrative tools and enhancements to Lync Server 2013;

  • Lync Server Deployment Wizard
  • Lync Server Control Panel
  • Lync Server Management Shell
  • Lync Server Topology Builder
  • Central management database
  • Role-Based access control
  • DNS load balancing
  • Lync Centralized Logging Service

Lync Server – Hybrid Coexistence

Lync Hybrid diagram

Lync Hybrid

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