The retirement of Skype for Business Online does not impact Skype for Business Server (on-prem) functionality itself.  Per our documentation:

Skype for Business Online’s retirement however will have the following impact to resources often used by Skype for Business Server:

  1. Skype Meeting Broadcast retires
    Skype Meeting Broadcast retires at the same time as Skype for Business online, so this service will no longer be available to Skype for Business Server users.
  2. Skype for Business Online PowerShell module/Connection point retired
    The Skype for Business Online PowerShell module & connection point are retired and will fail.  If used, the Teams PowerShell Module instead needs to be installed on your Skype for Business Server Front End servers.

We’ve been running a preview of co-authoring on MIP-Encrypted/Information Protected documents.


As a follow up to the current ongoing preview, we have good news to share!

Co-authoring on MIP Encrypted Documents is now available in Current Channel builds of Office:

While the feature is still in Preview, we are revising our guidance and customers are now welcome to deploy the feature on their production tenants.

Make sure to familiarize yourself with the metadata changes introduced as a part of the feature and ensure that all pre-requisites are met before enabling.

imageMicrosoft analyzed the major challenges that IT organizations face when managing current mission-critical infrastructures. Security issues, high costs, and difficulties in updating their environments were top of mind. Conversely, the move to the cloud has been helpful in addressing many of these hurdles. In fact, customers who completed the transition often cite the following benefits:

  • Improved security and compliance.
  • Better performance and lower latency of mission-critical systems.
  • Faster infrastructure implementation times.
  • Greater agility (due to the opportunity to modernize existing systems while developing new capabilities).

Additionally, when organizations rely on the cloud to run their core business processes, they can capitalize on significant operational advantages while increasing compliance & improving their security posture. This is particularly true in a climate of uncertainty. That is also why the rate at which organizations continue to migrate their applications to the cloud is not slowing down, and that includes business-critical applications.

Join this three-part Azure webinar miniseries to:

  • Hear from Forrester Consulting about the critical success factors you should consider when building your cloud migration strategy for business-critical applications.
  • Discover how to continuously improve the resiliency of business-critical applications at scale with the latest innovation on Azure.
  • Hear real-world examples and learn best practices from ISV partners Riversand, Teradata, and Unit4 as they share their experiences on how to simplify the journey to Azure.

Register now to attend the webinar series, rich in unique insights and authentic discussions with members of our growing Azure community.

imageLast year we released a Reply-all Storm Protection feature to help protect your organization from unwanted reply-all storms. This feature uses global settings applicable to all Microsoft 365 customers for reply-all storm detection and for how long the feature will block subsequent reply-alls once a storm has been detected.

Today we’re pleased to announce you’ll now have the ability to make these settings specific to your Microsoft 365 organization; email admins will have the flexibility to enable/disable the feature, and set customized detection thresholds and block duration time. This not only makes it more flexible to tailor for your organization, but it also  allows more Microsoft 365 customers to take advantage of the Reply-all Storm Protection feature since the minimum number of reply-all recipients for detection can now be as low as 1000 when previously it was hard-coded at 5000.

Read more here:

Posted by: kurtsh | July 6, 2021

RELEASE: Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10

Microsoft PowerToys is a set of utilities for power users to tune and streamline their Windows 10 experience for greater productivity.

There are over 9 Here’s a few of my favorites:

  • imageAwake is designed to keep a computer awake without having to manage its power & sleep settings. This behavior can be helpful when running time-consuming tasks, ensuring that the computer does not go to sleep or turn off its screens.
  • imageImage Resizer is a Windows Shell Extension for quickly resizing images. With a simple right click from File Explorer, resize one or many images instantly. This code is based on Brice Lambson’s Image Resizer.
  • Keyboard Manager allows you to customize the keyboard to be more productive by remapping keys and creating your own keyboard shortcuts. This PowerToy requires Windows 10 1903 (build 18362) or imagelater.

Read about the entire set here:

imageWe are reducing the price of the Power Apps per user and per app plans.  Also, the Power Apps per app plan entitlements are being simplified.

The following Power Apps licensing changes will go into effect on October 1, 2021:

  • The Power Apps per user plan will be priced at $20 per user/month, a decrease from the previous price of $40 per user/month. The plan will be available across Microsoft’s commerce channels – Volume Licensing (VL), Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) and web direct – without license minimums or other purchase requirements. Plan entitlements remain unchanged, including the ability for users to run unlimited apps and portals.
  • The Power Apps per app plan will be priced at $5 per user/app/month, a decrease from the previous price of $10 per user/app/month. Like the per user plan, the per app plan will also be available across the same commerce channels without license minimums or other purchase requirements.
    Additionally, we are simplifying entitlements for the per app plan by providing users with the ability to run one app or access one portal, in contrast with the current entitlement of two apps and one portal. This approach more directly aligns with the plan’s intent of providing flexibility for customers seeking to license users one app at a time. Customers with existing per app plan subscriptions purchased prior to Oct 1, 2021 will maintain the current entitlement for the duration of their agreement term.

In the interim prior to October 1, availability of the Power Apps limited time, promotional offers is being extended. Beginning today, July 1 and running through September 30, eligible customers interested in taking advantage of reduced pricing can select from these promotional offers: The Power Apps per user and per app plans are currently available for $12 per user/month (minimum purchase of 5,000 licenses) and $3 per user/app/month (minimum purchase of 200 licenses), respectively. Offer availability and other conditions may apply.

Lastly, we also recently made Power Apps portals login capacity available at a reduced price for eligible customers purchasing large volumes of sessions. This includes the addition of limited time offers for capacity tier 4 (25,000+ logins/month) and tier 5 (100,000+ logins/month), which joined the existing offers available for capacity ranging from 100+ to 5,000+ logins/month. With these limited time offers, Power Apps portals login capacity is available for a price as low as $12 per unit/month for tier 5 capacity. Minimum unit quantities and other conditions may apply.

Please visit the website, or contact your Microsoft representative or our sales team for more information on the terms and conditions for the Power Apps per user, per app and portals limited time offers.

The Message Center in Microsoft 365’s Admin Center is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to pay attention to because Administrator’s receive notifications that are specific to their tenant in this area. This includes:

  • System Changes
  • New feature/service releases
  • Warnings/Issues

I highly recommend that all Microsoft 365 Administrators actively monitor the Message Center. An M365 Admin can monitor the Message Center in 3 ways:

  1. Regularly check the Message Center
    (for individuals using the Admin Center frequently this shouldn’t be hard.)
  2. Sync Message Center notices to Microsoft Planner using the “Planner Sync” feature – available from the Message Center
  3. Have Message Center send an email to the Administrator, for each notice posted using “PREFERENCES à EMAIL”.

This last option is the most common I see.  Here are the steps to get there:

  • Go to the Microsoft 365 Admin Portal.
  • Click “Health” in the left side menu
    (You may need to click, “… Show all” before you’re able to see Health appear)

  • Click “Message Center”
    The Message Center console will appear.
  • imageClick “Preferences”
    A slideout window for Preference settings will appear.
  • Click “Email”
  • Check “Other email addresses” & enter the desired email.
  • Select the products that you want email notifications from.
  • imageClick “Save” at the bottom

Posted by: kurtsh | July 2, 2021

INFO: Tools to Move from IE11 to Microsoft Edge

imageThe clock is ticking on Internet Explorer 11.

IE11 expires on June 15, 2022 meaning that no security patches/updates will be made available for it after this date & no support from Microsoft will be provided.  It also means:

  • All desktops must migrate off of Internet Explorer 11 by June 15, 2022
  • Alternative means of accessing any internal web sites & applications that actively require IE11 need to be found

The best solution for providing a true Enterprise browsing experience is Microsoft Edge.  Edge provides:

  • Chrome compatibility – the same sites accessed by users with Chrome are accessible using Edge, including the installation & use of Chrome extensions
  • Internet Explorer 11 compatibility – for sites that IT authorizes
  • Privacy Protection – ensure users behavior & information aren’t tracked or stored by advertising companies to prevent data leakage
  • VM-based Security – Protect users from bad web sites online by running browser tabs in hardware-based virtual machines/containers, blocking access to file systems, OS settings, and the your corporate network
  • Centralized Security Controls – IT policy-based management to control the security, configuration, and behavior of Edge
  • User-based Profile Sync – A login-based experience that provides the same favorites, home page, history, even extensions!, etc. for users
  • Enterprise Support – Full prioritized technical support – with escalation for customers with Premier/Unified support contracts with Microsoft

Fortunately, organizations have been switching off of Internet Explorer 11 for many years now and the tools by which they’ve done this are well documented.

imageThis list provides written guidance around the following to move from IE11 to Microsoft Edge:

  • Microsoft Edge setup guide aka “Edge Advisor”
  • Discover and configure sites that require IE mode
  • Microsoft Edge | Internet Explorer mode and compatibility
  • App Assure program

Read more here:

imagePower BI is an industry leading business intelligence platform adopted by the world’s largest enterprises (2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant I Microsoft Power BI). Power BI is the only BI product with built in data protection through Microsoft Information Protection.

In this webinar you’ll learn how you can:

  • leverage M365 sensitivity labels to classify sensitive content
  • inherit sensitivity labels from source systems
  • protect data when it leaves Power BI

Presented by: Anton Fritz, Principal Program Manager, Power BI R&D, Microsoft

US & EMEA Session

imageLooks like too many people needed explcit guidance around how to configure their Exchange Online Protection & Microsoft Defender for Office 365 security.

So it looks like we just published the settings that we recommend people configure… and provided an “Easy Button” i.e.  a way to simply “flip a switch” and autoset EOP/MDO365 to either “standard” or “strict” recommended policy settings.

It was published 6/18/2021 so it’s super current.  Read the docs here:

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