imageMicrosoft Whiteboard is not yet available in Microsoft 365 GCC/Microsoft Team for Government. 

It is on the roadmap to be available to our GCC customers, however, and will be FedRAMP reviewed.

In the meantime, there are a couple alternatives:

IDG recently published a study around the cost advantages associated with cloud-based security information and event management (SIEM) solutions.  In summary:

  • Forty percent—lower staffing costs.
  • Forty percent—lower operational expenses (OpEx).
  • Thirty-four percent—lower capital expenses (CapEx).

For a broader discussion around these numbers, read this about the IDG study & how Microsoft’s cloud-based SIEM, Azure Sentinel, can help you lower your security costs while improving your security coverage & speed of execution.

The IDG report is available below, entitled, “SIEM Shift: How the Cloud is Transforming Security Operations”.

imageMany security professionals are realizing that their on-premises or private cloud-based security information and event management (SIEM) system can’t keep up—so they’re migrating this key security operations tool to the public cloud.

The IDG report, SIEM Shift: How the Cloud is Transforming Security Operations, delves into the results of a survey of 300 security and IT decision-makers to discover why more security professionals are moving to cloud-based SIEM. The report reveals that cloud-based SIEM:

  • Reduces SIEM costs by lowering or eliminating infrastructure, maintenance, licensing, and staffing costs.
  • Helps improve protection with AI and faster threat response.
  • Boosts SIEM performance, scalability, and stability.
  • Augments security teams with AI, reducing alert fatigue and automating common tasks.

Learn how your peers are strengthening their defense against threats.

imageFor those unaware: Office 365 GCC uses Azure AD Public.  For an explanation of this, please review the following:

FAQ: Why does Office 365 GCC use Azure AD Public?
”The first Office 365 US Government environment, Government Community Cloud (GCC), was created when Microsoft had a single cloud directory. The Office 365 GCC environment was designed to use Azure AD Public while still adhering to controls and requirements outlined in FedRAMP Moderate, CJIS (Criminal Justice Information Services), IRS 1075, and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publication 800-171. Azure Government, with its Azure AD infrastructure was created later. By that time, GCC had already secured the necessary compliance certifications (for example, FedRAMP Moderate and CJIS) to meet Federal, State, and Local government requirements while serving hundreds of thousands of customers. Now, many Office 365 GCC customers have two Azure AD tenants: one from the Azure AD subscription that supports Office 365 GCC and the other from their Azure Government subscription with identities in both.

Read more here:

imageSomething I get a lot from Microsoft 365/Office 365 administrators is, “I can’t keep up with all the notifications that come in from the Office 365 Admin Portal’s message center!”

One way to keep track of these notifications (like when new services and products are being released to your users) is to sync the Office 365 Updates from Message Center to Microsoft Planner.

I discovered this from and admittedly didn’t even know this was possible.  Tony Redmond from outlines how to accomplish this with really great instructions. 

From a high level, this is what he goes over:

  1. Select the type of change notification to synchronize from the Message Center to Planner.
  2. Select a target plan.
  3. A background process finds matching notifications in the Message Center and creates new tasks in Planner.
  4. After synchronization completes, update the new tasks created in Planner.
  5. Go back to step 3 and repeat. Synchronization can be manual or automatic.

For exact instructions, visit:

imageMaximize value and performance when you move your SQL Server workloads to Azure Virtual Machines. Learn about different SQL Server deployment models and how to choose the right one for your organization.

Read this Packt e-book to learn how to:

  • Migrate workloads and manage your SQL Server estate on Azure. 
  • Optimize performance over time. 
  • Configure virtual machines (VMs) for high availability. 
  • Optimize disk layout for SQL Server on VMs. 
  • Build a hybrid environment with Azure Virtual Machines running SQL Server.

Download the Packt e-book here:

imageThe Virtual Systems Management Users Group is having their first online user group session June 30th and it’s got some big time guests.

Join us for our inaugural user group session with a stellar line-up is speakers including David James the director of engineering for Configuration Manager at Microsoft and Michael Niehaus.

Tentative Schedule:

Session 1: Cody Mathias, Andrew Jimenez, and Justin Chalfant

  • Time: 8 AM PST, 11 PM EDT, 4 PM (GMT + 1)
  • Length: 75 Minutes
  • Agenda: Introductions and Configuration Items in Configuration Manager

Session 2: David James

  • Time: 9:15 AM PST, 12:15 PM EDT, 5:15 PM (GMT + 1)
  • Length: 90 Minutes
  • Agenda: Q&A with David James

Session 3: Michael Niehaus

  • Time: 10:45 AM PST, 1:45 PM EDT, 6:45 PM (GMT + 1)
  • Length: 60 Minutes
  • Agenda: Autopilot and Intune

Register here:

Posted by: kurtsh | June 27, 2020

INFO: Microsoft Productivity Score

imageEvery organization needs a way to determine success and business impact. However, translating productivity into measurable impact can be challenging. We’ve heard from organizations that they’d like a way to better measure how they are doing—both in regard to:

  1. How employees are getting work done more efficiently
  2. How technology is enabling them to save time and be more productive

Microsoft Productivity Score focuses on two areas: the Employee experience and the Technology experience. Both provide visibility into how your organization works, insights to identify where you can enable improved experiences, and actions you can take to update skills and systems—so everyone can do their best work.

  • The Employee experience shows you how Microsoft 365 is helping to create a productive and engaged workforce. By quantifying how people are collaborating on content, working from anywhere, developing a meeting culture, and communicating with each other, you can see the different ways that work gets done. With advice on how people can work in new ways and training materials to help them learn, you can empower everyone to do their best work.
  • The Technology experience provides insights by assessing policies, device settings, and hardware and application performance within the organizational environment and recommends actions taken in Microsoft Endpoint Manager. Users receive the most up-to-date features, persistent security, devices with faster boot times, and increased battery life. You can improve their scores by identifying best practices and ideal configurations to ensure Technology and Employee experiences are mutually supported.

For more on how your endpoints contribute to your Productivity Score, visit:

imageWe are very excited to announce a Microsoft Teams ‘Ask Microsoft Anything’ (AMA) specific to Teams Devices!

The AMA will take place on Thursday, July 2, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. PT in the Microsoft Teams AMA Space. Add the event to your calendar and view in your time zone here.

Posted by: kurtsh | June 27, 2020

BETA: Endpoint Analytics “Proactive Remediations”

imageDid you know Microsoft Endpoint Manager has a new preview feature called “Endpoint Analytics”?

Endpoint Analytics aims to improve user productivity and reduce IT support costs by providing insights into the user experience. The insights enable IT to optimize the end-user experience with proactive support and to detect regressions to the user experience by assessing user impact of configuration changes.

This initial release, focuses on three things:

Proactive Remediations
Imagine being able to fix problems before users notice them. Proactive Remediations will proactively discover and remediate issues found on your devices. You can use our built-in remediations, or create your own!

For more details behind this magic, here’s a tutorial worth looking at:

clip_image002Microsoft’s Identity Group – Azure Active Directory, Identity Manager, etc. – will be at “Identiverse Virtual 2020”, an industry conference focused on Identity.

Join the brightest minds in identity and experience unparalleled education, collaboration, and insight into the future of Identity. Through our series of information-rich sessions on the latest technologies, best practices, and industry trends, you will gain an edge in the ever-changing identity security landscape. Register for any session below and you will get an All-Access Pass to the rest of the Identiverse content.



Here’s a list of some of the Microsoft-led presentation sessions that we’re delivering – including they keynote from Microsoft Corporate VP Identity, Alex Simons.

  • Identity Standards: What’s up, what’s new, what’s next
    Alex Simons – Corporate Vice President of Program Management, Microsoft Identity
    Wednesday, July 01, 2020 – 9:00 AM
    Open standards are essential building blocks for innovation, taking on heavy lifting that frees developers to focus on building unique solutions. In this session, Alex Simons will share the latest news on open identity standards and how innovators are using them to make the digital world safer and more equitable. After showing demos of some awesome FIDO 2 implementations, he’ll delve into the rising importance of Zero Trust and standards that are critical for supporting the new normal of remote work. He’ll then explore the role that decentralized identity systems and related standards will play to help us manage everyday digital interactions in a world forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Customers and partners: Seamless and secure experiences for every relationship
    Robin Goldstein – Principal Group Program Manager, Microsoft Identity
    Tuesday, June 23, 2020 9:00 AM
    Organizations going through a digital transformation need to manage and secure user identities beyond organizational boundaries, including partners, customers, and citizens. They want a single solution that’s user-centric, flexible, secure, and scalable enough to support global users authenticating with any kind of identity. They also want a solution that has rich customization for both consumer- and business-facing use cases. In this session you’ll see real-world examples that show how organizations can create customized, branded experiences. The session will also highlight considerations for managing the lifecycle of all types of users.
  • A balancing act: Identity, privacy, and security in a data-sharing economy
    Pamela Dingle – Director of Identity Standards, Microsoft Identity
    Thursday, July 02, 2020 11:00 AM
    As the value of enterprise data increases so do the risks to the enterprise, the individual, and the industry. Do you know how to recognize those risks and mitigate them as an identity, privacy, or security professional?
  • Identity kill chain: A hacker’s eye view of how your systems get pwned
    Alex Weinert – Partner Director of Identity Security, Microsoft Identity
    Tuesday, July 14, 2020 – 11:00 AM
    A kill chain is the set of steps an attacker takes to achieve their objective. This nerve-wracking session includes live demos of current attack methods. You’ll walk through the identity kill chain from an attacker’s perspective and see what they see as they’re taking over your domain. We’ll show you the tools they use, how they apply them, and how they move from one guessed password to total takeover. You’ll see where the weakest links are in identity systems and how best to break the kill chain for each step, and you’ll walk away with a deeper understanding of attack mechanics and greater confidence in your ability to defend your organization.
  • Keynote panel: Identity at scale
    Sue Bohn – Partner Director of Program Management, Microsoft Identity
    Wednesday, July 15, 2020 – 9:00 AM
    The ways and frequency with which we use our identity data are increasing at an almost unimaginable rate. Dealing with Identity at scale is a challenge we will have to face. In this panel, hear how some of the largest providers and users of identity services are addressing those challenges today, and discover approaches and techniques that you will be able to use in the future.
  • The skills and experiences of identity practitioners
    Pamela Dingle – Director of Identity Standards, Microsoft Identity
    Tuesday, July 21, 2020 – 11:00 AM
    Knowing what skills you need to become an identity practitioner isn’t obvious, and hearing from others who’ve been in the same place in their careers can offer a lot of clarity. In this panel, cohosted by ID Pro and Women in Identity, professionals from Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Thomson Reuters will share their journeys toward becoming successful identity practitioners.

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