Microsoft has finally launched its Whiteboard app for Windows 10 devices. It’s a free tool for collaborating on ideas with as many people as you like, and it’s not half bad. Whiteboard (which has been available in preview since last December) is designed for use with a stylus, so it’ll automatically recognize when you’re trying to draw shapes and tables, and help you out with your doodles. [embedded content] Of course, it works just fine with a mouse or your finger on a touchscreen too. You can draw, add sticky notes, import images, paste text, and pull in pictures from the web using the built-in Bing search tool. All these elements can be manipulated and moved around the board as you wish. It’s also easy to invite people to collaborate from wherever they are in real-time by sending them a link. Of course, they’ll need a Microsoft or Office 365 account to dive in. There are several other whiteboard apps out there, but with this, Microsoft can offer it to Office users, integrate it into its Teams group chat app (which is now available for free), and sync your data across devices when it later arrives on the web, iOS, and Android. So while Whiteboard isn’t impressive enough on its own to convince you to switch from similar apps, it might be the easiest one for you to get into, if you’ve already bought into the Office ecosystem. You can give it a go by installing the app for free from the Microsoft Store. Read next: AI is finding out when the person using your account isn't you
Maybe you’ve heard of Microsoft Teams, or perhaps you haven’t. I could spend a few paragraphs ...
Maybe you’ve heard of Microsoft Teams, or perhaps you haven’t. I could spend a few paragraphs introducing you to Teams, but I won’t. If you want a Teams introduction, read this short overview of basic features. Let’s begin setting it up for a law firm. One: Create Back Office Teams First, we need to decide when we create a new Team. I recommend creating a Team by process, project, workflows in the office (HR or Billing), or practice area. However, be mindful of the Team members (people). For example, if your Family Law, Estate Planning, and Probate practice areas all have the same members, make them one Team, with separate channels. (For more tips about organizing Teams check out this Microsoft video). Finally, create a FirmName Team for general firmwide announcements. Stay away from needlessly building Teams by department or role. If you’re not sure about creating a Team for any reason, don’t. If you need it later, you can add it. It’s easier to add Teams than it is to remove or clean up empty ones. Less is more. Two: Create Client Teams Now that you have established the back office Teams let’s talk about the work a law firm does. All firms, even corporate legal, have a client(s) and projects (matters, cases, files). In corporate legal or specific practices, the “clients” may be called something else, division, customer, association, but there is a legal entity you are representing or advising. Create a Team per client. Then add the firm members that work with that client to that Team. These “client Teams” should be public, unless there is a need, like a conflict, to keep them private. Do NOT assign everyone to every Team. Firm members can join a public Team at any time. Each Team automatically gets a general channel (see below for channel definition). But I suggest creating a channel per matter. Depending on your legal practice, you may hit the 200 channel limit quickly. If you think this is the case, you may want to create a Team based on matter, rather than the client. An Office 365 (O365) Global admin can create 500,000 “Teams.” Ordinary users can create 2,500 Teams. When creating a channel per matter, Microsoft automatically creates a folder for documents that pertain to that matter. Channels are dedicated sections within a Team to keep conversations organized by specific topics, projects, disciplines—-whatever works for your Team! Three: Channels Now that we’ve set up our Team, channels, and folders we can start with the tabs. In Teams, you can create tabs for other valuable information. These tabs are then automatically shared with the entire Team and across all devices. The two tabs I recommend are OneNote, for any unstructured note taking, and Planner (Teams also works with Asana, GitHub, and Trello), to manage the case tasks assuming you don’t have a case/practice management system already. Four: Decisions and Tabs At this point, you’re nearly ready to start testing Teams. But there are a few important things to consider. Specifically, firm policies and workflows around Teams. Who sets them up? What happens to a Team when the firm and client no longer work together? What happens to a channel when you close a matter? Will Teams replace your phones or conference tools? How do we name Teams and Channels? As you can see the basics are rather easy but knowing what questions to ask and policies to create can be the tricky part. Additionally, you’ll want to structure training around policies. For example, I can go on YouTube and learn how to add guest users (people outside the firm) to a Team, but what is the firm’s position on this? Should people be allowed? At this point, if you’re anything like me, you’ll play the game before reading the instructions. If so use the screenshot below as a cheat sheet to get started. You’ll see I point out the basic setup in a few words. But if you’ve read the article, you’re better prepare for deployment. Finally remember, Teams has a plethora of features, many of which I have not discussed here, but could be very useful in your practice. If you’re already using Teams, let me know how you deployed it and how it’s going.
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Microsoft will start rolling out Teams to its U.S. Government Cloud customers on July 17.
Microsoft will start rolling out Teams to its U.S. Government Cloud customers on July 17. In a blog post on June 28, Microsoft provided an official (and awaited) date for Government Cloud Teams availability. The post says Teams should be available to all eligible Government Cloud users by the end of August 2018. Teams will be available as part of Office 365 for U.S. Government G1, G3, G5 and F1 plans. It also will be available for Microsoft 365 for U.S. Government G3, G5 and F1 plans. Microsoft officials said they "are working to bring Microsoft Teams to the other U.S. government clouds soon." There are some feature differences between Microsoft Teams for commercial customers and Teams for U.S. Government cloud users. Here's Microsoft's chart showing the commercial Teams features that will be unavailable, turned off by default and/or available at some point in the future: Credit: Microsoft Microsoft's Stream video service for business users still isn't available for U.S. Government cloud, which means call/meeting recording in Teams is not yet available either, as it uses Streams. Support for apps (Bots, Tabs, Connectors) is a work in progress, as are unified presence and email notifications. New features for Microsoft Teams will come to Government Cloud customers after they first go to commercial customers, going forward. Microsoft officials said this lag is "due to increased audit requirements and activities to meet the needs" of that environment. Microsoft Teams security and compliance levels include ISO 27001, ISO 27018, EUMC, SOC 1 Type I & II, SOC 2 Type I and II, HIPAA and FedRAMP Moderate, Microsoft's blog post notes. Microsoft originally began rolling out Teams, its group-chat service, in early 2017. There are rumors that Microsoft may at some point release a free version of Teams and not tie its usage to having an Office 365 subscription, but so far there's been no formal announcement of such a plan. what's hot on zdnet
Starting today Microsoft is bringing the Fluent Design from Windows 10 to Office 365. This design ...
Starting today Microsoft is bringing the Fluent Design from Windows 10 to Office 365. This design is aimed to offer more a streamlined interface with depth, the right amount of colors, and transition animations that make using Office a cleaner and easier experience. This new design is being rolled out gradually, with the new interface coming today for Word users on Office.com Later this month, a test group of Office Insiders will will see them in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Windows. Starting in July, it will be available in Outlook for Windows and Outlook for Mac in August. This Fluent update brings a simplified ribbon to Office that contains new icons and colors that make it easy to use while working. Included in the ribbon will be new collaborative controls that allow you to see small avatars of others who are working with you on the document, the ability to easily share the documents, and access to the comments pane. The ribbon bar icons have also been updated to use less color and more detail so that they are not distracting and offer a cleaner look. You can see the evolution of Microsoft Office icons over the years in the image below. Evolution of Office Icons Source: Microsoft.com New search experience In addition to the Fluent Design being added, Microsoft has added a new search experience that uses machine learning and Microsoft AI. In addition to allowing you to search for documents or text within documents, this new search also includes a feature called "zero query search" Zero query search allows you to simply click in the search field and before you type anything, Microsoft AI will offer a list of related documents, people you can collaborate with, and commands that you may want to execute. This new search feature is already available in Office.com, SharePoint Online, and the Outlook mobile app and will be rolling out to Outlook on the web in August.
Do you know about Two-Minute Tuesdays? You may be familiar with the fact that we do a livestream every week and those livestreams are recapped here in our blog. However, each livestream runs between 15 to 30 minutes and not everyone may have that kind of time. That is why we came up with the idea for Two-Minute Tuesdays, where we take the most important parts of the livestream and condense it into a digestible two minute version. That's not to say that every Two-Minute Tuesday will be a livestream recap. We like to show off new features in Office 365 or give how-to demonstrations on featured products as well, so look for a blend of content on our YouTube page: https://youtube.com/protectedtrustlive This week's Two-Minutes Tuesday is based on the eDiscovery and Data Governance livestream we did last week. In that livestream we demonstrated how to setup a retention policy in Office 365 as well giving a short demonstration on how to create a new case, search content, and add permissions. Instead of watching all 23 minutes, do yourself a favor and watch the condensed two minute version. If you want to watch the full livestream, you can find that here: https://ptmain.wpengine.com/blog/discovering-ediscovery. Also, don't forget to like and subscribe to our YouTube page to get notifications whenever we post a new video.
What is Microsoft 365, in a nutshell?
What is Microsoft 365, in a nutshell? Microsoft 365 is an integrated bundle of Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (aka EMS, which includes Intune device management, analytics and some Azure Active Directory capabilities), sold on a subscription basis. Microsoft 365 is the evolution of the bundles formerly known as "Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and E5." Credit: Microsoft How long has Microsoft 365 been around? Microsoft introduced the Microsoft 365 concept at its partner conference in July 2017. The first two editions (Business and Enterprise) became available for purchase in early August 2017. As part of its recent company-wide reorg, Microsoft made a subset of the Windows 10 team part of the Microsoft 365 organization. Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson now has overall responsibility for Microsoft 365, all-up. What are the different Microsoft 365 variants or editions? Microsoft currently offers a handful of targeted Microsoft 365 bundles. These are: Microsoft 365 Enterprise: For companies with more than 300 users. It's available in two options -- with Windows 10 Enterprise (E3 or E5), plus Office 365 and EMS. Microsoft 365 Business: For small-to-mid-sized businesses (SMBs) with up to 300 users. It includes Windows 10 Pro, Office 365 and EMS. Microsoft 365 F1: For "firstline"/customer service and support workers. This plan includes Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365 F1 (formally Office 365 Enterprise K1) and EMS. Microsoft 365 Education: For educational institutions, schools and classrooms. It comes in three options: A1, AE and A5. Microsoft 365 Nonprofit: For not-for-profit organizations. This seems to be Microsoft 365 Business available at a reduced rate (best I can tell). Microsoft 365 Government: For U.S. government agencies and controactors holding controlled but unclassified information. (Don't let the alphabet soup of acronyms here intimidate you. E3, E5, A1, K1, etc. are all plan designations carried over primarily from Office 365.) Some Microsoft watchers have wondered whether Microsoft may be planning to introduce a Microsoft 365 for consumer/home users. So far, no such offering has been announced or leaked, however. Can customers still buy the piece-parts of Microsoft 365 as standalone products? And for how long? Microsoft is continuing to sell Windows 10 E3/E5, Windows 10 Pro, Office 365 and EMS separately and has not said it has plans to only offer these components as part of a bundle. What is "Windows 10 Business"? Windows 10 Business is a custom variant of Windows 10 that is only available as part of the Microsoft 365 Business plan. It includes everything in Win 10 Pro plus Windows Defender Security Controls, Windows AutoPilot, as well as hooks for Automatic Office apps deployment, What is a "Microsoft 365-powered device"? Shortly after announcing Microsoft 365, Microsoft officials began talking about Microsoft 365-powered devices. This was a new marketing term, and not actually a way that customers or organizations could buy or license a piece of hardware. It was simply meant to encourage customers to run one of the Microsoft 365 bundles on a Windows 10 machine. Some Microsoft execs began describing Surface devices as Microsoft 365-powered. HP execs also have talked about the HP EliteBook x360 and HP Elite x2 under the Microsoft 365-powered banner. The PCs that Microsoft partners introduced a year ago as being optimized for Windows 10 S also can be seen as good candidates for those running Microsoft 365 F1, as many companies would potentially be introduced in having their front-line workers run streamlined/locked-down devices. (Devices running Windows 10 S that subscribe to Microsoft 365 F1 will upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise in S mode.) Microsoft has been phasing out quietly the Microsoft 365-powered nomenclature and replacing it with "modern desktop experience powered by Microsoft 365." There are still some references on Microsoft web sites and documentation to "Microsoft 365-powered," but not many. Will Microsoft begin reporting Microsoft 365 as part of its "commercial cloud" revenues in its financials? Microsoft officials have not said they plan to start including Microsoft 365 as a component of its commercial cloud bucket, but I wouldn't be surprised to see this happen in the not-to-distant future, since Office 365 and Intune are already part of the commercial cloud figures Microsoft reports. What constitutes the "Microsoft 365 development platform"? At its Build 2018 developer conference this year, Microsoft dedicated an entire keynote to the concept of building on top of the Microsoft 365 platform. Microsoft now has four major development platforms: Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and gaming. The Microsoft 365 piece takes the current Windows developer model and expands it with the Microsoft Graph, which is Microsoft's centralized API for connecting applications and services across devices, applications and services. The Graph is what is enabling a number of the cross-platform features, like Timeline and Sets, in Windows 10. Why is Microsoft pushing Microsoft 365 so hard? Microsoft is hoping lightning can strike twice when it comes to bundles. Office, a bundle of the company's productivity apps, became a huge business for Microsoft over the years. Since then, the company has been testing and fielding a variety of product bundles with the goal of selling more software and services via subscription, which gives Microsoft a dependable stream of recurring revenue.
One of the most talked about features in Office 365 is the ability to coauthor a document with another user (or multiple users) and seeing the changes made in real time. If you've never seen coauthoring before or even heard about, don't worry, we will do a post on it in the coming weeks. Until then, just know that coauthoring allows two or more individuals to access the same document on different computers, edit, and see the changes made instantly. This brings up an issue though. What happens when the other person editing the document makes a mistake or includes something you wish wasn't there at all? Furthermore, what if you aren't editing the document at the same time? Maybe you like writing in the evenings, while your partner is more of a morning person. In order to solve this dilemma, Office 365 has a feature called versioning. Versioning creates point in time save slot for your documents. Any time the document is saved, instead of overwriting the document with your new data, it takes a snapshot so you can go back to all of the previous times you saved. Not just when you saved either. If anyone (who has permission) makes a change to the document, it will also appear in the versioning timeline. So, if you open your document and the changes made aren't to your liking, you can simply go back to the point you want. I should also mention that if AutoSave is enabled in the Office program you are working in (Word, PowerPoint, Excel), a new version will be created every 10 to 15 minutes. There are only two requirements to have versioning enabled and functioning properly. First, the document must be in OneDrive or SharePoint. If you save a document to your PC you will not be able to utilize versioning. You will know whether or not the document is saved in OneDrive or SharePoint by the AutoSave icon in the top-left corner. If the icon is greyed out, it means the document is stored locally and therefore versioning won't work. An important distinction should be made me here. You can have AutoSave turned off and versioning will still be enabled. If AutoSave is grayed out entirely, where you can't toggle between the on and off position, then versioning is also disabled. That brings us to the second requirement. In order to create a new version of your document, the document must be saved at some point. As stated earlier, if AutoSave is turned on, then a new version is created every 10 to 15 minutes. If you have AutoSave turned off, then you will have to manually click the save button for a new version to appear. Even though AutoSave only works for Office programs, that doesn't mean versioning is limited only to Office programs. You heard that right! Any document you save to OneDrive or SharePoint will have versioning capabilities. The only difference is instead of accessing it in the program you are using, you will need to sign into the web portal and right-click on your file to access the versioning menu. To make a new version of a non-Office document, just click the save button like you normally would. Say goodbye to the days of creating brand new documents just to title it Version 1.3.1 and so on. With versioning in Office 365, your most up-to-date document is also all of its previous editions.
It's the same story no matter how many clients we onboard, end-users are afraid to use SharePoint. If you would have asked me two years ago to use SharePoint, I would have been afraid too. The SharePoint that exists today is not the same product it was two years ago, but even though it has changed dramatically, that has done little to quell the strong despair people feel when SharePoint is brought up as the replacement to their in-house file server. So why are people so quick to push SharePoint aside? I believe it's because there is still a lot of confusion on what exactly SharePoint is. Today I am here to say, you don't have to be afraid of SharePoint any more. It's a lot simpler than you think and chances are you are probably using it without knowing it. In our latest livestream, I spoke with Chief Solutions Architect Jon Webster about Teams. I mean I really spoke to him. Most livestreams last 15 minutes, but there was so much information to cover that we almost went a full hour. But Steve, I thought you said this blog post was about SharePoint. It is! For those of you who are already using Teams, you are also using SharePoint, because the files that you share with your teammates are stored in SharePoint. As stated in the livestream, SharePoint is more like an engine running in the background and not the star of the show. The incorporation of SharePoint into Teams is a big a deal. I used to think of SharePoint as a website that could only be utilized through my web browser. For awhile, that's exactly how I used it and it was not a good experience to say the least. First you had to navigate away from what you were doing to log into the Office 365 website, then you had to open up the SharePoint online app, then you had to actually find the site you were looking for. Just finding the site in the clutter of other sites is a task in and of itself. With so many tiles to search through, it took awhile just to find the right one. Once I started using Teams though, I didn't have to sign into the web application again. My shared files were located right in my team. For those of you who aren't quite ready to adopt Teams, that's okay too. You can sync your SharePoint library to your computer so all you have to do is open file explorer and look for your desired folder. We have also found that this is the best way to spread adoption, since it is similar to how users access shared files with an internal file server. The only difference is the mapped folders are given actual names instead of drive letters. So if you were looking for the Marketing Department site, it would display as Marketing instead of M or whatever letter you assign it. Though we recommend syncing SharePoint sites to your computer as a means of user adoption, overall we still recommend the Teams app for actual use. There is good reason for that. When you sync the site to your computer, you still have to stop what you are doing to go and look for the file. Even though it is more accessible on your computer than it is on the web, you can cut out the middle man by working directly in Teams. Since Teams has the SharePoint site built into it, you simply have to click on the Files tab to access them. No more running around looking for your files or manually syncing new sites to your computer. So now, when you think of SharePoint instead of thinking of the unknown, simply think of it as the place where you access and share documents. In our office we say it's like the communal filing cabinet, whereas OneDrive is the filing cabinet you keep at your desk. In the end though, you don't have to think of it as anything at all, because when using Teams, it is running in the background. See? There is nothing to be afraid of after all!
Contents 02/09/2018 15 minutes to read Contributors In this article Applies to Windows 10 Windows 10 Mobile Windows 10 IoT Mobile Looking for consumer information? See Windows Update: FAQ The Windows 10 operating system introduces a new way to build, deploy, and service Windows: Windows as a service. Microsoft has reimagined each part of the process, to simplify the lives of IT pros and maintain a consistent Windows 10 experience for its customers. These improvements focus on maximizing customer involvement in Windows development, simplifying the deployment and servicing of Windows client computers, and leveling out the resources needed to deploy and maintain Windows over time. Click the following Microsoft Mechanics video for an overview of the release model, particularly the Semi-Annual Channel. Building Prior to Windows 10, Microsoft released new versions of Windows every few years. This traditional deployment schedule imposed a training burden on users because the feature revisions were often significant. That schedule also meant waiting long periods without new features — a scenario that doesn’t work in today’s rapidly changing world, a world in which new security, management, and deployment capabilities are necessary to address challenges. Windows as a service will deliver smaller feature updates two times per year, around March and September, to help address these issues. In the past, when Microsoft developed new versions of Windows, it typically released technical previews near the end of the process, when Windows was nearly ready to ship. With Windows 10, new features will be delivered to the Windows Insider community as soon as possible — during the development cycle, through a process called flighting — so that organizations can see exactly what Microsoft is developing and start their testing as soon as possible. Microsoft also depends on receiving feedback from organizations throughout the development process so that it can make adjustments as quickly as possible rather than waiting until after release. For more information about the Windows Insider Program and how to sign up, see the section Windows Insider. Of course Microsoft also performs extensive internal testing, with engineering teams installing new builds daily, and larger groups of employees installing builds frequently, all before those builds are ever released to the Windows Insider Program. Deploying Deploying Windows 10 is simpler than with previous versions of Windows. When migrating from earlier versions of Windows, an easy in-place upgrade process can be used to automatically preserve all apps, settings, and data. And once running Windows 10, deployment of Windows 10 feature updates will be equally simple. One of the biggest challenges for organizations when it comes to deploying a new version of Windows is compatibility testing. Whereas compatibility was previously a concern for organizations upgrading to a new version of Windows, Windows 10 is compatible with most hardware and software capable of running on Windows 7 or later. Because of this high level of compatibility, the app compatibility testing process can be greatly simplified. Application compatibility Application compatibility testing has historically been a burden when approaching a Windows deployment or upgrade. With Windows 10, application compatibility from the perspective of desktop applications, websites, and apps built on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) has improved tremendously. Microsoft understands the challenges organizations experienced when they migrated from the Windows XP operating system to Windows 7 and has been working to make Windows 10 upgrades a much better experience. Most Windows 7–compatible desktop applications will be compatible with Windows 10 straight out of the box. Windows 10 achieved such high compatibility because the changes in the existing Win32 application programming interfaces were minimal. Combined with valuable feedback via the Windows Insider Program and diagnostic data, this level of compatibility can be maintained through each feature update. As for websites, Windows 10 includes Internet Explorer 11 and its backward-compatibility modes for legacy websites. Finally, UWP apps follow a compatibility story similar to desktop applications, so most of them will be compatible with Windows 10. For the most important business-critical applications, organizations should still perform testing on a regular basis to validate compatibility with new builds. For remaining applications, consider validating them as part of a pilot deployment process to reduce the time spent on compatibility testing. If it’s unclear whether an application is compatible with Windows 10, IT pros can either consult with the ISV or check the supported software directory at http://www.readyforwindows.com. Device compatibility Device compatibility in Windows 10 is also very strong; new hardware is not needed for Windows 10 as any device capable of running Windows 7 or later can run Windows 10. In fact, the minimum hardware requirements to run Windows 10 are the same as those required for Windows 7. Most hardware drivers that functioned in Windows 8.1, Windows 8, or Windows 7 will continue to function in Windows 10. Servicing Traditional Windows servicing has included several release types: major revisions (e.g., the Windows 8.1, Windows 8, and Windows 7 operating systems), service packs, and monthly updates. With Windows 10, there are two release types: feature updates that add new functionality twice per year, and quality updates that provide security and reliability fixes at least once a month. With Windows 10, organizations will need to change the way they approach deploying updates. Servicing channels are the first way to separate users into deployment groups for feature and quality updates. With the introduction of servicing channels comes the concept of a deployment ring, which is simply a way to categorize the combination of a deployment group and a servicing channel to group devices for successive waves of deployment. For more information about developing a deployment strategy that leverages servicing channels and deployment rings, see Plan servicing strategy for Windows 10 updates. For information about each servicing tool available for Windows 10, see Servicing tools. To align with this new update delivery model, Windows 10 has three servicing channels, each of which provides different levels of flexibility over when these updates are delivered to client computers. For information about the servicing channels available in Windows 10, see Servicing channels. Naming changes As part of the alignment with Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus, we are adopting common terminology to make it as easy as possible to understand the servicing process. Going forward, these are the new terms we will be using: Semi-Annual Channel - We will be referreing to Current Branch (CB) as "Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)", while Current Branch for Business (CBB) will simply be referred to as "Semi-Annual Channel". Long-Term Servicing Channel - The Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) will be referred to as Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC). Feature updates With Windows 10, Microsoft will package new features into feature updates that can be deployed using existing management tools. Because feature updates are delivered more frequently than with previous Windows releases — twice per year, around March and September, rather than every 3–5 years — changes will be in bite-sized chunks rather than all at once and end user readiness time much shorter. Tip The feature update cadence has been aligned with Office 365 ProPlus updates. Starting with this falls' update, both Windows and Office will deliver their major updates semi-annually, around March and September. See upcoming changes to Office 365 ProPlus update management for more information about changes to Office update management. Quality updates Monthly updates in previous Windows versions were often overwhelming because of the sheer number of updates available each month. Many organizations selectively chose which updates they wanted to install and which they didn’t, and this created countless scenarios in which organizations deployed essential security updates but picked only a subset of non-security fixes. In Windows 10, rather than receiving several updates each month and trying to figure out which the organization needs, which ultimately causes platform fragmentation, administrators will see one cumulative monthly update that supersedes the previous month’s update, containing both security and non-security fixes. This approach makes patching simpler and ensures that customers’ devices are more closely aligned with the testing done at Microsoft, reducing unexpected issues resulting from patching. The left side of Figure 1 provides an example of Windows 7 devices in an enterprise and what their current patch level might look like. On the right is what Microsoft’s test environment PCs contain. This drastic difference is the basis for many compatibility issues and system anomalies related to Windows updates. Figure 1 Servicing channels To align with the new method of delivering feature updates and quality updates in Windows 10, Microsoft introduced the concept of servicing channels to allow customers to designate how frequently their individual devices are updated. For example, an organization may have test devices that the IT department can update with new features as soon as possible, and then specialized devices that require a longer feature update cycle to ensure continuity. With that in mind, Windows 10 offers 3 servicing channels. The Windows Insider Program provides organizations with the opportunity to test and provide feedback on features that will be shipped in the next feature update. The Semi-Annual Channel provides new functionality with twice-per-year feature update releases. Organizations can choose when to deploy updates from the Semi-Annual Channel. The Long Term Servicing Channel, which is designed to be used only for specialized devices (which typically don't run Office) such as those that control medical equipment or ATM machines, receives new feature releases every two to three years. For details about the versions in each servicing channel, see Windows 10 release information. The concept of servicing channels is new, but organizations can use the same management tools they used to manage updates and upgrades in previous versions of Windows. For more information about the servicing tool options for Windows 10 and their capabilities, see Servicing tools. Note Servicing channels are not the only way to separate groups of devices when consuming updates. Each channel can contain subsets of devices, which staggers servicing even further. For information about the servicing strategy and ongoing deployment process for Windows 10, including the role of servicing channels, see Plan servicing strategy for Windows 10 updates. Semi-Annual Channel In the Semi-Annual servicing channel, feature updates are available as soon as Microsoft releases them. Windows 10, version 1511, had few servicing tool options to delay feature updates, limiting the use of the Semi-Annual servicing channel. Windows 10, version 1607 and onward, includes more servicing tools that can delay feature updates for up to 365 days. This servicing modal is ideal for pilot deployments and testing of Windows 10 feature updates and for users such as developers who need to work with the latest features immediately. Once the latest release went through pilot deployment and testing, you choose the timing at which it goes into broad deployment. When Microsoft officially releases a feature update for Windows 10, it is made available to any PC not configured to defer feature updates so that those devices can immediately install it. Organizations that use Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, or Windows Update for Business, however, can defer feature updates to selective devices by withholding their approval and deployment. In this scenario, the content available for the Semi-Annual Channel will be available but not necessarily immediately mandatory, depending on the policy of the management system. For more details about Windows 10 servicing tools, see Servicing tools. Organizations are expected to initiate targeted deployment on Semi-Annual Channel releases, while after about 4 months, we will announce broad deployment readiness, indicating that Microsoft, independent software vendors (ISVs), partners, and customers believe that the release is ready for broad deployment. Each feature update release will be supported and updated for 18 months from the time of its release Note Organizations can electively delay feature updates into as many phases as they wish by using one of the servicing tools mentioned in the section Servicing tools. Long-term Servicing Channel Specialized systems—such as PCs that control medical equipment, point-of-sale systems, and ATMs—often require a longer servicing option because of their purpose. These devices typically perform a single important task and don’t need feature updates as frequently as other devices in the organization. It’s more important that these devices be kept as stable and secure as possible than up to date with user interface changes. The LTSC servicing model prevents Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB devices from receiving the usual feature updates and provides only quality updates to ensure that device security stays up to date. With this in mind, quality updates are still immediately available to Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB clients, but customers can choose to defer them by using one of the servicing tools mentioned in the section Servicing tools. Note Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB is a separate Long Term Servicing Channel version. Long-term Servicing channel is not intended for deployment on most or all the PCs in an organization; it should be used only for special-purpose devices. As a general guideline, a PC with Microsoft Office installed is a general-purpose device, typically used by an information worker, and therefore it is better suited for the Semi-Annual servicing channel. Microsoft never publishes feature updates through Windows Update on devices that run Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB. Instead, it typically offers new LTSC releases every 2–3 years, and organizations can choose to install them as in-place upgrades or even skip releases over a 10-year life cycle. Note Windows 10 LTSB will support the currently released silicon at the time of release of the LTSB. As future silicon generations are released, support will be created through future Windows 10 LTSB releases that customers can deploy for those systems. For more information, see Supporting the latest processor and chipsets on Windows in Lifecycle support policy FAQ - Windows Products. The Long-term Servicing Channel is available only in the Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB edition. This build of Windows doesn’t contain many in-box applications, such as Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Store, Cortana (limited search capabilities remain available), Microsoft Mail, Calendar, OneNote, Weather, News, Sports, Money, Photos, Camera, Music, and Clock. Therefore, it’s important to remember that Microsoft has positioned the LTSC model primarily for specialized devices. Note If an organization has devices currently running Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB that it would like to change to the Semi-Annual Channel, it can make the change without losing user data. Because LTSB is its own SKU, however, an upgrade is required from Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB to Windows 10 Enterprise, which supports the Semi-Annual Channel. Windows Insider For many IT pros, gaining visibility into feature updates early—before they’re available to the Semi-Annual Channel — can be both intriguing and valuable for future end user communications as well as provide the means to test for any issues on the next Semi-Annual Channel release. With Windows 10, feature flighting enables Windows Insiders to consume and deploy preproduction code to their test machines, gaining early visibility into the next build. Testing the early builds of Windows 10 helps both Microsoft and its customers because they have the opportunity to discover possible issues before the update is ever publicly available and can report it to Microsoft. Microsoft recommends that all organizations have at least a few PCs enrolled in the Windows Insider Program and provide feedback on any issues they encounter. For information about the Windows Insider Program for Business, go to Windows Insider Program for Business. Note Microsoft recommends that all organizations have at least a few PCs enrolled in the Windows Insider Program, to include the Windows Insider Program in their deployment plans and to provide feedback on any issues they encounter to Microsoft via our Feedback Hub app. The Windows Insider Program isn’t intended to replace Semi-Annual Channel deployments in an organization. Rather, it provides IT pros and other interested parties with pre-release Windows builds that they can test and ultimately provide feedback on to Microsoft. There are many tools with which IT pros can service Windows as a service. Each option has its pros and cons, ranging from capabilities and control to simplicity and low administrative requirements. The following are examples of the servicing tools available to manage Windows as a service updates: Windows Update (stand-alone) provides limited control over feature updates, with IT pros manually configuring the device to be in the Semi-Annual Channel. Organizations can target which devices defer updates by selecting the Defer upgrades check box in StartSettingsUpdate & SecurityAdvanced Options on a Windows 10 client. Windows Update for Business is the second option for servicing Windows as a service. This servicing tool includes control over update deferment and provides centralized management using Group Policy. Windows Update for Business can be used to defer updates by up to 365 days, depending on the version. These deployment options are available to clients in the Semi-Annual Channel. In addition to being able to use Group Policy to manage Windows Update for Business, either option can be configured without requiring any on-premises infrastructure by using Intune. Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) provides extensive control over Windows 10 updates and is natively available in the Windows Server operating system. In addition to the ability to defer updates, organizations can add an approval layer for updates and choose to deploy them to specific computers or groups of computers whenever ready. System Center Configuration Manager provides the greatest control over servicing Windows as a service. IT pros can defer updates, approve them, and have multiple options for targeting deployments and managing bandwidth usage and deployment times. With all these options, which an organization chooses depends on the resources, staff, and expertise its IT organization already has. For example, if IT already uses System Center Configuration Manager to manage Windows updates, it can continue to use it. Similarly, if IT is using WSUS, it can continue to use that. For a consolidated look at the benefits of each tool, see Table 1. Table 1 Servicing tool Can updates be deferred? Ability to approve updates Peer-to-peer option Additional features Windows Update Yes (manual) No Delivery Optimization None Windows Update for Business Yes No Delivery Optimization Other Group Policy objects WSUS Yes Yes BranchCache or Delivery Optimization Upstream/downstream server scalability Configuration Manager Yes Yes BranchCache, Client Peer Cache Distribution points, multiple deployment options Note Due to naming changes, older terms like CB,CBB and LTSB may still be displayed in some of our products. Steps to manage updates for Windows 10 Feedback What type of feedback would you like to provide? Our new feedback system is built on GitHub Issues. For more information on this change, please read our blog post. Loading feedback...
Microsoft is unveiling a number of new features for its Outlook desktop app, Outlook for iOS / ...
Microsoft is unveiling a number of new features for its Outlook desktop app, Outlook for iOS / Android mobile apps, and the company’s Outlook.com webmail service this week. The new Outlook features that are now available or coming soon are being detailed by Microsoft less than a week after Google started rolling out a new Gmail redesign. Google’s new Gmail features are mostly aimed at business customers, in an attempt to get more businesses using G Suite. Microsoft’s new Outlook features are also primarily aimed at business customers, an area that Microsoft’s traditional Outlook desktop apps for Windows and macOS specialize in. Microsoft is adding bill pay reminders to Outlook.com, that will appear as calendar items if Outlook.com identifies a bill received in an email. The reminders are similar to how travel reservations or package delivery tracking works in Outlook.com, and the due date for the bill will be automatically added to the calendar event. Outlook.com will also send an email two days before the bill is due. Outlook for Windows is also getting some new calendar features that are more targeted towards businesses. Outlook will now offer suggestions for meeting locations in calendar entries, and automatically populate them with information from Bing. Outlook for iOS is also getting similar location support, alongside the option to book meeting room availability from your mobile device. Microsoft is also improving RSVP and tracking meeting attendees in Outlook’s calendar. You’ll soon be able to see the tracked responses to meetings even if you didn’t organize them, so you can see if your boss is going to attend the meeting and whether you actually need to go. Outlook’s calendar on both Windows and Mac is also getting better time zone support. You can now set up a travel calendar entry in one time zone that ends in another, which is particularly useful if you’re looking at flight information. Outlook for Windows now supports viewing three time zones, and Outlook for Mac will also let you see an additional time zone. Microsoft is adding in better support for the emails you’re blind copied in on. If you go to reply to an email where you were in the BCC field, Outlook for Windows will now alert you that you were blind copied, so you avoid a potentially embarrassing email scenario. Outlook for iOS and Android are also getting a number of new features soon. Outlook for iOS will soon support syncing draft emails, making it easier to compose an email on your phone and finish it on your PC. Draft syncing is available on Outlook for Android, Mac, and Windows, and it’s coming to Outlook for iOS this month. Microsoft is also integrating its Office Lens tech into Outlook for Android. Office Lens lets you capture information from a whiteboard, or take photos of a document and have them automatically cropped to look like they were scanned on a professional scanner. This will be built into Outlook for Android, but there’s no word on support for Outlook for iOS yet. On the flip side, Outlook for Android is finally getting quick replies at the bottom of messages. This is already available for the iOS version, and it’s an easier way to reply to an email at the bottom of a message and still see the mail you’re replying to. Outlook for iOS and Android are both getting support for favorite contacts in June. You’ll be able to tag people as favorite, and this will persist across the web and mobile versions of Outlook. Outlook for Android is also getting support to block external content in emails, and the iOS version will include Office 365 Groups support in June.
With Attack Simulator (included in Office 365 Threat Intelligence), if you are a member of your ...
With Attack Simulator (included in Office 365 Threat Intelligence), if you are a member of your organization's security team, you can run realistic attack scenarios in your organization. This can help you identify and find vulnerable users before a real attack impacts your bottom line. The Attacks At preview release we offer 3 kinds of attack simulations that you can run. For an attack to be successfully launched, the account that is running the attack and logged on, must use multi-factor authentication. Note: Currently, Attack Simulator is in preview. When an attack is created, the attack email message is created using HTML via a text field. However, when Attack Simulator is generally available, the email will be created using an HTML control within the experience. Also, the landing page a target is redirected to in a Spear Phishing campaign is static. However, when Attack Simulator is generally available, the landing page will use a customizable URL chosen by the global or security administrator configuring the simulated attack. To access Attack Simulator, in the Security & Compliance Center, choose Threat management > Attack simulator. Before you begin... Make sure that you and your organization meet the following requirements for Attack Simulator: Display name spear-phishing attack Phishing is a generic term for a broad suite of attacks classed as a social engineering style attack. This attack is focused on Spear Phishing, a more targeted attack that is aimed at a specific group of individuals or an organization. Typically, a customized attack with some reconnaissance performed and using a display name that will generate trust in the recipient, such as an email message that looks like it came from an executive within your organization. This attack focuses on letting you manipulate who the message appears to have originated from by changing the display name and source address. When spear-phishing attacks are successful, cybercriminals gain access to users' credentials. To simulate a spear-phishing attack In the Security & Compliance Center, choose Threat management > Attack simulator. Specify a meaningful campaign name for the attack. Specify the target recipients. This can be individuals or groups in your organization. A targeted recipient must have an Exchange Online Mailbox in order for the attack to be successful. Compose the phishing email message. Enter text for the From (Name) field. This is the field that shows in the Display Name in the receiving email client. Enter text or the From field. This is the field that shows as the email address of the sender in the receiving email client. Important: You can enter an existing email namespace within your organization (doing this will make the email address actually resolve in the receiving client, facilitating a very high trust model), or you can enter an external email address. The email address that you specify does not have to actually exist, but it does need to following the format of a valid SMTP address, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Using the drop-down selector, select a Phishing Login server URL that reflects the type of content you will have within your attack. Several themed URLs are provided for you to choose from, such as document delivery, technical, payroll etc. This is effectively the URL that targeted users are asked to click. Enter text for the Subject field. This is the field that shows as the Subject Name in the receiving email client. Next enter the content for the Email body that the target will receive. This content must in HTML format. You can craft the HTML directly in the Email body field itself or cut and paste from another HTML editor. There are two important fields for inclusion in the HTML: The HTML formatting can be as complex or basic as your campaign needs. As it is HTML, you can insert images and text to enhance believability. You have control on what the received message will look like in the receiving email client. Choose Finish to launch the attack. The Spear Phishing email message is delivered to your target recipients' mailboxes. Password-spray attack A password spray attack against an organization is typically used after a bad actor has successfully enumerated a list of valid users from the tenant, utilizing their knowledge of common passwords used. It is utilized widely as it is a cheap attack to run, and harder to detect than brute force approaches. This attack focuses on letting you specify a common password against a large target base of users. To simulate a password-spray attack In the Security & Compliance Center, choose Threat management > Attack simulator. Specify a meaningful campaign name for the attack. Specify the target recipients. This can be individuals or groups in your organization. A targeted recipient must have an Exchange Online Mailbox in order for the attack to be successful. Specify a password to use for the attack. For example, one common, relevant password you could try is Fall2017. Another might be Spring2018, or Password1. Choose Finish to launch the attack. Brute-force password attack A brute-force password attack against an organization is typically used after a bad actor has successfully enumerated a list of key users from the tenant. This attack focuses on letting you specify a set of passwords against a single user. To simulate a brute-force password attack In the Security & Compliance Center, choose Threat management > Attack simulator. Specify a meaningful campaign name for the attack. Specify the target recipient. A targeted recipient must have an Exchange Online Mailbox in order for the attack to be successful. Specify a set of passwords to use for the attack. For example, one common, relevant password you could try is Fall2017. Another might be Spring2018, or Password1. Choose Finish to launch the attack. Related topics Office 365 Threat Intelligence