image.NET Framework 4.5.2, 4.6, and 4.6.1 will reach end of support on April 26, 2022. After this date, Microsoft will no longer provide updates including security fixes and technical support for these versions. There is no change to the support timelines for any other .NET Framework version, including .NET 3.5 SP1, which will continue to be supported as documented on our .NET Framework Lifecycle FAQ.

Please check out the public content and guidance related to this topic.

imagePlanning Services are being fully retired from Software Assurance benefits, but customers can continue working with partners to use Planning Services days for engagements while the vouchers are valid. These are the significant dates leading up to program retirement:

  • February 1, 2020: Planning Services cloud engagements were retired.
  • February 1, 2020: Training vouchers can no longer be converted to Planning Services days.
  • February 1, 2021: Customers no longer accrue Planning Services benefits.
  • June 30, 2021: Last day for customers to create/assign Planning Services vouchers. All remaining Planning Services days will be removed July 1, 2021.
  • January 1, 2022: Last day for partners to redeem Planning Services vouchers. Partner will have 60 days after redemption to complete the payment request process.

See the following to understand how to use your Planning Services benefit:

imageTraining Vouchers are being fully retired from Software Assurance benefits, but customers can continue to use voucher days for instructor-led training while the vouchers are valid. These are the significant dates leading up to program retirement:

  • February 1, 2020: Azure training retired from the training voucher catalog.
  • February 1, 2020: Training Vouchers can no longer be converted to Planning Services days.
  • February 1, 2021: Customers no longer accrue training benefits.
  • June 30, 2021: Last day for customers to create/assign Training Vouchers. All remaining Training Voucher days will be removed July 1, 2021.
  • January 1, 2022: Last day for partners to redeem Training Vouchers. Partner will have 60 days after redemption to complete the payment request process.

For more details, visit:

Posted by: kurtsh | April 27, 2021

BETA: Viva Learning – Public Preview

imageSince we announced Microsoft Viva in February, we’ve heard consistently from customers, industry analysts, and our own internal users how important learning is to them. Everyday we hear examples of creative learning – not just as an important aspect of personal and professional growth – but also as an avenue for social engagement, helping people feel more connected in a largely virtual work environment. These scenarios are top of mind as we get closer to launching Viva Learning – a central hub for learning in Microsoft 365 where people can discover, share, recommend, and learn from best-in-class content libraries to help teams and individuals make learning a natural part of their day.

At Microsoft Ignite in March, we shared a new set of product features and admin capabilities, derived from our private preview customer feedback and internal use scenarios. With this feedback we’re continuing to build Viva Learning to seamlessly integrate learning into the tools you already use everyday – you can share learning via chat, pin learning content in existing Teams channels, recommend learning, see all your available learning sources in a personalized view, search across available sources, and so much more.

Viva Learning enters public preview today

There are a few items to keep in mind as we kick off public preview:

  • Eligibility
    Viva Learning public preview is open to all organizations with paid subscription access to Microsoft Teams, with the exception of Education or Government customers. We’ll have additional information to share when Viva Learning is available to those audiences in the future.
  • Approval from your IT admin
    Public preview onboarding requests should either come from your IT admin directly or have the support of your IT admin. In the Teams Admin Center, your IT admin will have the ability to configure who within your organization has access to the Viva Learning app in preview – this can range from the entire organization to just a small subset of users.
  • Onboarding timelines
    We expect a high volume of public preview requests and will manage requests as they come in through a rolling onboarding process. Expect it to take a few weeks from request submission to tenant activation.
  • Product features in preview
    As with any product in preview or beta stages, please be aware that we are still hard at work building the final version. The preview product will not initially include all the features that will be available at product general availability. We will roll out additional features to our preview customers continually as we lead up to general availability later this year.
  • Submitting feedback
    As you start to use Viva Learning we want to hear your feedback! Please use the “Help” button in Teams (bottom of the left nav rail) and select either “Suggest a feature” or “Report a problem”

Enrollment in Public Preview
Complete our onboarding request form with the required information. Completing this form should take about 5 minutes.

After submitting your request, please stay tuned for a confirmation email within 24 business hours. Later, you will receive a notification email once your tenant is activated which will include setup and usage documentation.

imageFind out how to secure your Windows Virtual Desktop environment when migrating your virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to Azure. Read this security handbook to get technical hands-on guidance on how to help protect your apps and data in your Windows Virtual Desktop deployment.

Download the handbook to:

  • Familiarize yourself with Windows Virtual Desktop architecture.
  • Understand which Microsoft tools and Azure security services are automatically configured and which are your responsibility.
  • Implement appropriate security measures for your organization’s data, apps, user identities, session hosts, and network access.
  • Learn best practices for using Azure Security Center and improving your Azure Secure Score.

Get the handbook here:

imageMicrosoft commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study and examine the potential return on investment (ROI) enterprises may realize by deploying Azure Sentinel. 1 The purpose of this study is to provide readers with a framework to evaluate the potential financial impact of Azure Sentinel on their organizations. Azure Sentinel reduces SIEM costs at scale, simplifies SIEM management, and improves the efficiency and effectiveness of security operation center (SOC) teams.

To better understand the benefits, costs, and risks associated with this investment, Forrester interviewed four customers using Azure Sentinel. For the purposes of this study, Forrester aggregated the experiences of the interviewed customers and combined the results into a single composite organization.

Prior to using Azure Sentinel, interviewed customers used on-premises SIEM solutions utilizing and maintaining multiple sites and servers, or they used internal, custom-built solutions managed by a managed service provider (MSP) to replicate SIEM infrastructure. However, prior attempts yielded limited success, with customers unable to scale these laborintensive solutions in cost-effective ways, and they invested significant resources in maintenance activities and investigating false positives.

After the investment in Azure Sentinel, the customers were able to benefit from the cloud-native SIEM infrastructure that Azure Sentinel provides, saving costs and enabling their SOC teams to detect and investigate threats more effectively. Key results from the investment include increased SOC team efficiency including reduced MTTR, avoided legacy SIEM costs, improved management efficiencies, and a reduced time to deploy and configure with Azure Sentinel.

Posted by: kurtsh | April 23, 2021

INFO: Implementing Microsoft Exact Data Match (EDM)

imageFor those familiar with Exact Data Match (EDM) as part of Microsoft’s Data Loss Prevention services in Office 365 E5, there are two very useful articles that were written fairly recently on what a deployment would require.

This is a highly-customized feature that involves the creation of REGEX parsing filters, XML Rule Packages and virtually all configuration is done using PowerShell.

(Note: Microsoft Exact Data Match is not for the light-hearted and is not something you “take a class on”, “learn on the job”, or get “support engineering” to walk you though.  If you don’t have experience on staff specifically with Microsoft EDM, we  recommend a professional services engagement.)

Licensing is documented here:

Posted by: kurtsh | April 23, 2021

RELEASE: Azure Defender IoT – with CyberX technology

imageIncorporating IoT/OT-aware behavioral analytics and threat intelligence from our recent acquisition of CyberX, Azure Defender for IoT is an agentless, network-layer monitoring solution that can be rapidly deployed fully on-premises or in Azure-connected environments. It supports diverse industrial protocols and equipment, is deeply integrated with Azure Sentinel, and integrates out-of-the-box with third-party tools (Splunk, IBM QRadar, ServiceNow, etc.).

The new product helps reduce risk in Operational Technology (OT) and industrial control system (ICS) environments, including protecting against modern attacks that can lead to costly production downtime, theft of sensitive IP such as proprietary formulas or designs, and safety incidents. Azure Defender for IoT provides continuous visibility into your IoT/OT risk including addressing critical challenges such as:

  • IoT/OT asset discovery: What devices do we have and how are they communicating — so we can easily implement zero-trust policies for IoT/OT?
  • Vulnerability management: What are risks to our crown jewel IoT/OT assets — and how do we prioritize mitigation?
  • Continuous threat detection & IR: Do we have any IoT/OT threats in our network now — and how do we quickly respond?
  • Operational efficiency: How do we identify and rapidly eliminate inefficiencies from misconfigured industrial equipment?
  • Unified IT/OT security & governance: How do we remove silos between IT and OT? How do we leverage existing SOC workflows and tools to identify multistage attacks that cross IT/OT boundaries —and demonstrate to auditors that we have unified governance across IT and OT?

Why is Microsoft investing here?
Digital transformation and Industry 4.0 have significantly expanded IT/OT connectivity and the attack surface. Unlike desktops and servers, most of these IoT/OT devices don’t support agents and are currently unmanaged and invisible to IT teams. Without visibility, it’s impossible to detect if your IoT/OT infrastructure has been compromised. Further increasing risk, many of these devices weren’t designed with security in mind, lacking modern controls such as strong credentials and automated patching.

Microsoft wants to help you reduce risk with simple, modern, and intelligent solutions that address your entire digital estate— including IoT/OT.

For more technical details, you can read:

Or watch this:

Would you like to help influence the direction of our Microsoft 365 Compliance products? We need your input!

The Microsoft Compliance Product Groups are currently running several surveys that will help prioritize the top asks that we’ve captured from our customers. Filling out these surveys will allow us to understand what features customers want and need, and in what priority they prefer.

The surveys are active until April 21, 2021 and are available at the following links:

imageThe Power Platform Community is expanding to include user group functionality. Soon you’ll be able to engage in forums, get product updates, join groups, and sign up for events all in one place.

In a supportive and inclusive setting, you can network with like-minded peers and product experts. It’s an exciting time to grow your community as a leader or a member in alliance with Microsoft.

Sign up to be notified via email when our Power Platform and Dynamics 365 User Groups go live for public preview. Whether you’re an existing User Group leader on another platform or just interested in becoming a member, this is an opportunity to be a part of our homegrown Microsoft User Groups from the beginning. We will user the data collected from this form to improve the User Group experience.

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