imageFor anyone looking for the datasheets for any of the Microsoft Surface device and accessory announcements made back in April, here’s links to the materials for each announced item:

Azure MFA admins – ever wish there was a way to migrate your users from SMS/Phone to something more secure like Push?

Microsoft has a new Preview feature called "Nudge" that can help!

imageYou can nudge users to set up Microsoft Authenticator during sign-in. Users will go through their regular sign-in, perform multifactor authentication as usual, and then be prompted to set up Microsoft Authenticator. You can include or exclude users or groups to control who gets nudged to set up the app. This allows targeted campaigns to move users from less secure authentication methods to Microsoft Authenticator.

In addition to choosing who can be nudged, you can define how many days a user can postpone, or "snooze", the nudge. If a user taps Not now to snooze the app setup, they will be nudged again on the next MFA attempt after the snooze duration has elapsed.

Read more about this new, free features here:

imageYou may have noticed a new Weather icon/object in your taskbar on Windows 10 that just sort of showed up.  If you right mouse click on it, nothing special happens.  Nice ‘eh?

Wanna turn it off?

WHERE’D THIS COME FROM?
The “weather widget” came from the optional Feature Update from the 2004/Spring 2020 release of Windows 10.  If you installed the optional feature update (KB5001391), it just appears.  We made an announcement about it back in April 2021.

HOW TO TURN OFF THE WEATHER & NEWS WIDGET IN WINDOWS 10
The issue is that no one knows what this thing is called (it’s official name is News & Interests widget) and it’s not entirely intuitive how to disable it.  It’s actually simple once you’ve done it.

  1. imageRight mouse click on the taskbar.
  2. Click on the “News & Interests” menu item.
  3. Select “Turn off”

And that’s it.  There’s some other items in there to minimize the widget or change it’s update frequency but the reality is that, for me, it’s consuming space on my taskbar which is the most valuable real estate on my desktop so… having some widget there that I never use is not an option.

imageWhile it might feel more productive to power through back-to-back meetings, Microsoft’s latest research shows the opposite is true. Learn more in Microsoft’s Work Trend Index:

In our latest study of brain wave activity, researchers confirmed what many people sense from experience: Back-to-back virtual meetings are stressful. But the research also points to a simple remedy—short breaks.

“Our research shows breaks are important, not just to make us less exhausted by the end of the day, but to actually improve our ability to focus and engage while in those meetings,” says Michael Bohan, senior director of Microsoft’s Human Factors Engineering group, who oversaw the project.

Settings in Microsoft Outlook make it easier and automatic to carve out these essential breaks between back-to-backs—and because we know that one size does not fit all, companies have two options. Individuals can set scheduling defaults that automatically shorten meetings they schedule. And now customers have the ability to set organization-wide scheduling defaults that shorten meetings and create space for breaks for everyone at the company.

“The back-to-back meetings that have become the norm over the last 12 months just aren’t sustainable,” says Jared Spataro, CVP, Microsoft 365. “Outlook and Microsoft Teams are used by millions of people around the world, and this small change can help customers develop new cultural norms and improve wellbeing for everyone.”

Read the key findings here:

Posted by: kurtsh | June 10, 2021

EVENT: Microsoft 365 Apps AMA – June 17, 2021

imageWe’re excited to announce a Microsoft 365 Apps Ask Microsoft Anything (AMA) with the Office Rangers!

The AMA will take place on Thursday, June 17th, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. PT in the Microsoft 365 Apps AMA space.

This live hour will give you the opportunity to ask any questions you have regarding enterprise manageability, deployment and performance, as well as provide direct feedback to the Microsoft 365 Apps team. Save the date and join us on Thurs, June 17th!

Save the date and learn more here:

imageWe recently released two resources that detail what we’re learning as we adopt a hybrid work model at Microsoft, in hopes that we can help you create the hybrid work plan that best fits your organization. At their core, these resources reflect our belief that leaders will need to come together to create a new, flexible operating model—spanning people, places, and processes—to fundamentally rewire their organization for hybrid work. 

The first resource I want to point you to is our Hybrid Workplace Flexibility Guide—which we originally created for Microsoft employees. In it, you’ll find sample team agreements, templates, and tools for hybrid work. There are also detailed plans that encompass everything from strategies to keep your people healthy, to exact roadmaps for how to help divide your people’s time between a physical or remote workplace. And there’s much more to come soon.

The second is called Hybrid Work: A Guide for Business Leaders, and it wraps up much of what we’ve learned about how to reimagine people, places, and processes for a hybrid world.

Read more about these guides here:

If you have a LinkedIn Learning subscription, there’s 2 courses available today of varying length and varying expertise available to you to take.

  • imageMicrosoft Cloud Fundamentals: Exchange Online and Security
    (2.2 hours)
    Review key skills related to managing Microsoft Exchange Online, using antispam and antimalware resources, and configuring Intune Endpoint Protection. Learn how to configure mailbox permissions and sharing, set up contacts and groups, configure antimalware filters in Office 365, and use Exchange Active Sync for mobile device management. Plus, explore Intune Endpoint Protection, which allows control of the security features on Intune-enrolled devices and further protects them from malware and spam.
    https://www.linkedin.com/learning/microsoft-cloud-fundamentals-exchange-online-and-security-2020-revision
  • imageOffice 365: Plan for Exchange Online and Skype for Business Online (Office 365/Microsoft 365)
    (2.0 hours)
    Email, calendar, contacts, and videoconferencing are some of the most important services in Office 365. How can you roll them out to your users in the most seamless and secure way possible? Take these lessons from Microsoft Certified Trainer Sharon Bennett and learn how to plan your Exchange Online and Skype for Business Online deployments—and pass the corresponding domain of Microsoft Exam 70-347: Enabling Office 365 Services. Learn how to create effective anti-malware and anti-spam policies that reduce malicious email. Discover how to migrate mailboxes to Office 365 using one of five recommended methods. Find out how to plan for a secure Exchange Online environment, by configuring archiving, permissions, and data loss prevention. Finally, Sharon demonstrates how to manage Skype services for external and internal video and audio communications.
    https://www.linkedin.com/learning/office-365-plan-for-exchange-online-and-skype-for-business-online
Posted by: kurtsh | June 9, 2021

EVENT: Azure Cosmos DB Conf (On-Demand)

imageIn case you missed it, the “Azure CosmosDB Conf” took place on April 20-21, 2021 and had over 35 sessions about globally distributed, massively scalable data storage… available now on-demand!

All Azure Cosmos DB content is available at:

AZURE COSMOS DB CONF
Visit the conference site for a listing of the available recorded sessions:

Also check out our LIVE Cosmos DB TV channel available on YouTube:

Posted by: kurtsh | June 9, 2021

INFO: Microsoft Azure Government DC User Community

imageThe Microsoft Azure Government DC user community is a group for anyone modernizing government IT. More specifically, this group is for anyone interested in Cloud Computing, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Open Source, Cybersecurity, Government Security & Compliance as well as Azure for Government.

We invite startups, partners, practitioners, government innovators, MVPs and Microsoft product engineers alike to share their latest and greatest in government IT modernization. We bring real-world lessons directly to our government innovator community.

Here’s a sample of one of the previous events:

imageToday’s technology travels at light speed; enabling faster transformation and innovation for agencies to meet mission demands. The next-era revolution features a host of cutting-edge emerging technologies that will impact and shape the future of US government on the ground and into space.

We invite you to RSVP and join the Azure Government User Community Wednesday, May 26 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET for a meetup on “What’s next? Emerging tech impacting US government” via Teams Live.

During this event, which is free and open to the public, we’ll look at several emerging technologies and what it means to government including:

  • Extension of cloud capabilities and innovation to space
  • Making the most of 5G networking capabilities for cloud and edge computing
  • Strategies to prepare your agency for what’s next

Featured speakers:

  • Jim Perkins – Senior Program Manager, Azure Edge + Platform, Microsoft
  • Steve Kitay – Senior Director, Azure Space, Azure Global MisSys US, Microsoft
  • Paul Tilghman – Principal PM Manager, Azure Global Mission Systems, Microsoft

We invite you to join us on Meetup.com.  Join the group at:

Organizations need to expand the scope of their security operations while both simplifying integration & improving the signal to noise ratio for security alerting.

Azure Sentinel was created to do just that.  By providing a SIEM/SOAR solution that is hosted in entirely in the cloud & designed to natively integrate with existing on-prem security solutions, organizations are able to provision a SIEM with very little upfront investment and have a best-in-class solution operational very quickly.

This is a short video that demonstrates how Microsoft’s Azure Sentinel provides a differentiated SIEM/SOAR solution for organizations ON-PREM and in the cloud.

imageSarah Young joins Scott Hanselman to discuss Azure Sentinel, which is a scalable, cloud-native, security information event management (SIEM) and security orchestration automated response (SOAR) solution. Azure Sentinel delivers intelligent security analytics and threat intelligence across the enterprise, providing a single solution for alert detection, threat visibility, proactive hunting, and threat response.

View the overview here:

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