Introducing Guest Access for Office 365 Groups

Sometimes you need to work closely with customers, partners, suppliers or consultants outside of your organization, and you need collaboration tools to make this possible. Today, we are pleased to announce the new guest access feature for Office 365 Groups—the group membership service that provides a single identity for teams in Office 365. The new guest access feature gives you the ability to include people outside of your company in an Office 365 group.

We are rolling out guest access functionality in phases. Starting today, group owners can add guests to a group in Outlook on the web. Once added, guests receive a welcome email, are granted access to group files in SharePoint Online, begin receiving email messages and calendar invites sent to the group, and can access the group in Office on the web and the Outlook Groups mobile application. They also have automatic access to cloud-based file attachments. Guests have the option to leave the group at any time and visual indicators remind all members of guest participation in the group across all Outlook experiences.

Office Groups GIF

Guest access works for any email accounts including corporate and consumer domains (such as Outlook.com or Gmail.com). If the guest email identity is associated with a Microsoft account (such as Office 365 or Outlook.com accounts, for instance), the user is directed to a sign-in page to identify themselves. If the guest doesn’t have a Microsoft account, they will be directed to a sign-up page to create an account.

Trying to invite someone from outside your Outlook network to collaborate? Atidan can help! Email office365@atidan.com for more information.

Reference: https://blogs.office.com/2016/09/08/introducing-guest-access-for-office-365-groups/

New Capabilities in SharePoint Online Team Sites Including Integration With Office 365 Groups

Microsoft has announced the rollout of several new enhancements to SharePoint Online team sites in Office 365, including deeper integration with Office 365 Groups. These enhancements will begin rolling out to Office 365 First Release customers starting next week.

The home page of a SharePoint Online modern team site gives you immediate visibility into site activity and important documents, with quick access to Office 365 Groups, its members and associated Office 365 apps.

Team site publishing pages and new web parts

Modern team site pages are fast, easy to author and support rich multimedia content. And pages look great on any device, in a browser or from within the SharePoint app. Using pages is a great way to communicate and share your ideas—such as status and trip reports, how-to write-ups, know-before-you-go guides and frequently asked questions.

Team site publishing pages are easily created in your browser when you click New within a SharePoint Online team site.

SharePoint pages are built with web parts, which you can customize according to your needs. You can add documents, videos, images, site activities, Yammer feeds and more. Just click the + sign and pick a web part from the toolbox to add content to your page. The new “highlighted content” web part lets you set criteria so that specific content will automatically and dynamically populate in that area of the page. And using the SharePoint Framework, developers can build custom web parts that will show up right in the toolbox.

New capabilities in SharePoint Online team sites including integration with Office 365 Groups 3

The toolbox allows you to add web parts to your SharePoint page.

To get started using SharePoint Online team sites in Office 365 follow these easy steps:

How to get started

  1. From the upper-right of any team site home page, click the gear icon to open the Settings menu and then clickAdd a page. Alternatively, on the modern team site home page, click New and then click Page. The new page appears.
  2. Click Name your page and then type a title for the page.
  3. Click the + sign to add content using the toolbox. Your work is saved automatically.
  4. Click Save and close when you are finished.
  5. To edit a saved page, click Edit.
  6. After the page looks perfect, click Publish.

To share the page via email, just click Share at the top of the page.

Learn more how to add a page to a site.

Office 365 Groups + team sites integration

When you create a group, Office 365 gives the group a shared inbox, calendar, OneNote notebook, a Planner for task management—and now, a full-powered SharePoint team site. Each group gets a modern home page—with the ability to create additional pages—document libraries, lists and business apps.

The integration of groups and SharePoint team sites means that any time a new team site is created, a new group membership will be created as well. You can easily see the members of the site, if the site is listed as public or private within your organization and how it has been classified. In addition, all existing Office 365 groups will be updated with their own team site. And once the rollout is complete for your tenant, all newly created groups will get a team site by default.

We’re also rolling out a number of new capabilities that members of the group will have access to within the team site.

Let’s dive in to the details of what’s new.

Home page—We redesigned the team site home page to focus on the team’s most relevant content, while maintaining easy navigation to the team’s lists, libraries, pages, subsites and apps. The home page also provides quick access to the group’s Outlook conversations. And when you click on the name of the team site (“Loyalty Program” in the below screenshot), you will see the group card with navigation links to more of the group’s calendar, files and more.

New capabilities in SharePoint Online team sites including integration with Office 365 Groups 4

The new SharePoint Online team site home page for an Office 365 group showcases important content and site activity.

Quick links—Make it easy for your team to find what matters. Simply click Add, choose the file or insert the URL—now the content appears at the top of the home page. Content within Quick links can be files, pages and apps from inside your team site or from anywhere on the web.

Activity—Stay in the know with visibility into what is happening, and who’s doing what, throughout your team site. The Activity section surfaces recent actions on files, lists, pages and more.

The Office 365 Groups team site includes all of the updates we made to SharePoint in recent months including:

Modern lists and support for Microsoft Flow and PowerApps—Collaborate on structured data, connect with other data sources, automate business processes and create mobile business applications based on SharePoint lists.

Modern document libraries—Create, co-author, share and organize files, and access those files across devices with a rich, browser-based experience, or with the SharePoint and OneDrive apps. Note: Microsoft PowerApps and Flow will both soon come to the modern document library experience.

Updated Site Contents page—Create, manage and evaluate the reach and impact of content in your team site.

Learn more about modern team sites and Office 365 Groups for users and admins.

New site collection limit

As more and more teams embrace the breadth of capabilities offered in SharePoint Online across team sites, Office 365 Video and portal sites, their content storage requirements are growing. To address this, we will increase the SharePoint Online site collection storage limit in the coming weeks from 1 TB to 25 TB. This increased limit will be immediately reflected in the official SharePoint Online boundaries and limits article. Note: this is an increase to the capacity potential of individual site collections.

Manageability and extensibility

Managing modern team sites aligns to a great degree with Office 365 Groups administration by following usage guidelines, naming conventions and classification. There are some site administration tasks that team sites rely on that are controlled within the SharePoint Online admin center—like storage quota or the ability to adhere to a custom site provisioning experience if desired.

And when you want to customize the home page, we are committed to enabling page configuration (choosing web parts, adding text) and extensibility (writing custom code) in our modern experiences going forward—inclusive of continuity for customers taking advantage of extensibility in classic experiences for the foreseeable future. We plan to add support for customizing the home page using modern development techniques. Existing customized home pages will remain in classic mode.

For more information please contact Atidan at office365@atidan.com.

Reference: https://blogs.office.com/2016/08/31/new-capabilities-in-sharepoint-online-team-sites-including-integration-with-office-365-groups/

 

National Small Business Week Webcast—“Small Business, Big Ideas: Live Expert Q&A”

Small Business Big Ideas

Join us for a bonus episode of the Office Small Business Academy, “Small Business, Big Ideas: Live Expert Q&A, in celebration of National Small Business Week, airing May 5 at 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET.

We invite the small business community to ask our experts their questions about entrepreneurship during this special one-night event live from the Microsoft flagship store in New York. Together, we’ll discuss the best ways to lead and grow your small business—including tips to empower employees, embrace change, manage resources and create a loyal customer base.

Carol Roth, CNBC on-air contributor and best-selling author of “The Entrepreneur Equation,” will host the event and take your questions, along with Ramon Ray, publisher of Smart Hustle Magazine and small business evangelist, and Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media and former editorial director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Don’t miss this chance to ask our experts your burning questions!

Submit your questions now—Don’t miss this opportunity to ask our experts your burning questions! Submit your questions for Carol, Ramon and Rieva on Twitter with the hashtag #OfficeSmallBiz.

Special offer—And as a special offer for attendees, One Month of Office 365 Enterprise Plans or Two Months Office 365 Business Premium Free from Atidan with a one year committment. Email office365@atidan.com Offer good through May 31. You do not need to attend this event, just mention this offer.

How to Work From Home and Look Good Doing It

In the last decade, the mobile workforce has increased by more than 100 percent—not that surprising when we consider the abundant improvement in technology over that same time period. Telecommuting offers wonderful benefits to companies and workers alike, with an improved work-life balance topping the charts. Not only that, but a 2015 Gallup poll shows that telecommuters are more likely to be more engaged in their jobs, and being engaged can lead to higher profitability, mobile productivity, customer engagement and other positive business outcomes.

How to work from home FI

But mobile teams experience problems of their own. At the forefront is the disconnection that naturally occurs when team members work separate from the rest of the team. Not only do telecommuters sometimes miss out on deeper relationships with co-workers, they don’t get to experience office culture and can easily miss important announcements. A case study conducted among full-time telecommuters at a Chinese travel agency even showed that mobile workers were up to 50 percent less likely to receive promotions.

If you’re part of the mobile workforce, here are some things you can do to make your experience as successful as possible:

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate—While telecommuters often make their own schedules—using two hours for lunch (and making it up later) or taking a break to pick up kids from school, for example—it’s important to let your team know when you’ll be away from your desk for any extended period of time. That way, they’ll know when you’ll be back in case they have anything pressing. Teams work better when members know what to expect of each other.
  • Always meet your deadlines—This should go without saying, but it’s important to make sure you aren’t slacking off. According to the aforementioned Gallup poll, work-from-home productivity is at least as good as in-office productivity, if not better. Don’t be the one that causes your boss or co-workers to lose faith in the system.
  • Use all technology available—While email certainly has its place, other technology—such as instant messaging, conferencing, etc.—helps you connect with team members in the moment. Because you don’t have the ability to stop by a co-worker’s desk or see team members at the water cooler, you should take any opportunity you can to create conversations and collaboration when appropriate.
  • Regularly visit or work in the office—Many remote workers do not live close enough to visit the office weekly, but—depending on your role—regular time spent in the office is crucial to team cohesion. You and your manager will need to discuss how often is “enough,” but you’d be amazed how much it helps to show your face every once in a while. When co-workers have spent time with you in person, it makes it easier for them to approach you online or via phone when they need to chat about an issue or project.
  • Build relationships with co-workers who can keep you informed—Even if you visit the office on occasion, you’ll probably miss out on some news or information when you aren’t there. Check in regularly with office friends who will gladly keep you apprised of anything important—even a shift in the office culture or mood.

But being successful isn’t just up to the mobile workforce. Companies can help their telecommuters stay more engaged with the whole team by instituting proper training, using collaboration software that allows for file sharing and ensuring proper security on mobile devices so mobile teams have the same access as everyone else, no matter where they’re working. In addition, scheduling regular videoconferences ensures face-to-face time, which can go a long way in a telecommuting situation. When telecommuters feel like part of the team, they’re more likely to stay content and engaged in their job—a fact that benefits everyone involved.

Related content

Contact the Atidan team at office365@atidan.com for additional information about our unified communications solutions and cloud services.

Blog credit to Microsoft https://blogs.office.com/2016/03/03/how-to-work-from-home-and-look-good/

 

 

 

Atidan Week in Mumbai

I had the honor of spending this past week with the Atidan team in Mumbai, India and once again it is amazing to experience everything India has to offer, from brilliant engineers, entrepreneurs, and one of the busiest cities in the world.

 

Not to brag, but the Atidan team is approaching 75 amazing engineers, program managers, human resource team members, IT professionals, testers and a growing business process outsourcing team.

During our project reviews, they demonstrated amazing solutions built on multiple platforms from Microsoft Cloud to Open Source to IBM Watson artificial Intelligence. Mobile, Social, Business Intelligence, search, security and portals are driving much of our growth in 2016.

 

The credit to our success over ten years has been the steady leadership of Kartavya and Advait Chitalia. Our team is diverse, inclusive, team oriented and highly focused. Most of our stars have come up through the ranks and it is thanks to a rigorous screening, training and mentoring program that we have a fantastic retention rate.

Atidan Company Cricket DayIMG_2190

This week is the Make In India conference and it is being said that India will become the most populated country in the world by 2030. With economic growth at 7.5% in 2015 and over 600+ million people moving into cities (that need to be built) India is

And finally, no trip would be complete without a visit to my favorite family owned enterprise from Kashmir…yes I filled three suitcases including a gorgeous silk carpet and gifts for clients 🙂

IMG_2185

5 Commonly Overlooked Security Threats

 The Internet is a vast place that brings amazing information to our fingertips in a matter of seconds. While this is a wonderful attribute, it also can be dangerous to your personal information or business’s data. That’s because there are hackers out there just itching to access your information and email is still a common way they accomplish this feat. And as we’ve seen through several recent examples—including the 2015 Pentagon and 2014 Sony email hacks—simply having a “strong” email password isn’t enough to keep your data from being compromised.

While some may jokingly (or not-so-jokingly) call for less email usage and more frequent use of the phone to communicate important information, it’s not always possible in our highly digital world. So in addition to being cautious about what is communicated in your emails, it’s important to understand how to protect those emails in the first place. To ensure secure email on your personal and work devices, you first have to recognize threats to your email system—including the less common ones.

Overlooked security threats

Here are five often overlooked threats to your email security:

  1. Social engineering schemes that use your mobile number—Did you know that attackers only need your mobile number to trick you into giving access to your email? Essentially, they’ll send you a text posing as your email provider (e.g., Outlook) and tell you you’re about to receive a code to ensure your email account is secure. This text will then ask you to reply with the code to confirm. Then, they’ll trigger the password reset process, you’ll receive a real message with the unlock code—and if you send it to the attackers unknowingly—they’ll use it to reset your password without your knowledge. Check out this video if you want more specifics on this scheme.
  2. Sharing your access credentials with others—It’s common for some employees to share their credentials—including their password—with a fellow employee or manager when they’ll be out of the office, whether on vacation or during short-term or long-term disability. If organizations don’t have defined security policies for these situations, a lack of accountability could lead to compromised email security.
  3. Loss of a phone with pertinent information—Password management applications are wonderful tools that help you keep track of all the passwords for all of the email accounts you undoubtedly have. But if this application is installed on a phone that is lost or stolen, that can be a problem. Of course, it’s important that your phone is also password-protected, but organizations should take security one step further when it comes to work or personal devices that carry business data or information. Specifically, a business should standardize acceptable use policies regarding the local storage of files, remote wipe capability and network connectivity.
  4. Lack of email encryption—Just because data is passed via a secure email server doesn’t mean it’s 100 percent safe. To add an extra layer of protection, companies should invest in an encrypted email service, which seals email messages and ensures only those with a decryption key can read and access sensitive information.
  5. Crypto-ransomware—Ransomware is nothing new, but it’s a nasty way for hackers to operate. They essentially take the files on your computer or devices hostage until you pay a ransom to have them released. Crypto-ransomware is even nastier, as the hackers encrypt your computer’s files and will only surrender decryption keys upon payment. How is this related to email? These attacks are typically triggered through the opening of some sort of email attachment (e.g., an invoice, energy bill, image, etc.) and they often look legitimate. According to Symantec’s 2015 Internet Security Threat Report, attacks of this nature are highly profitable (bringing in approximately $34,000 per month for one group alone) and growing in popularity.

Whether through phishing schemes or direct malware attacks, email security threats are prevalent—and as we’ve seen, even the mighty can fall prey to them. That’s why it’s more important than ever for organizations to invest in a secure email service that will help them keep their data safe. In addition, employee education is a large part of maintaining a secure email environment. When people know what to expect, they’re better equipped to protect themselves and their companies from liability.

Get more out of your email to help grow your business with solutions from Atidan and Microsoft. Contact us today at office365@atidan.com

 

Blog credit to Microsoft: https://blogs.office.com/2016/01/28/overlooked-email-security-threats/

The Future of Planning -Online Project Planning in the Cloud

For almost any company, whether large or small, project management is necessary for getting—and remaining—organized. There are multiple project management tools available to help your business manage resources, project and control costs, communicate effectively with multiple team members, and track progress on any given project. While some of these tools can be installed as software on individual network computers, a great many of them are web-based—in other words, they’re available in the cloud.

Project planning in the cloudBenefits of project management tools in the cloud

You may be one of those people who shudders at the phrase “cloud computing,” but take a moment to consider what it really means. While on-premises project management tools have their place, cloud-based software comes with a plethora of benefits, including the following:

  • Lower upfront cost. When you use on-premises project management software, you have to pay for a number of items, including software license investments, server hardware, IT staff for support, lengthy deployments and more. Alternately, a cloud-based solution typically only requires a monthly or annual fee.
  • More secure than ever. Despite what many business executives have believed in the past, the cloud offers just as much security as on-premises solutions—the company simply does not control the physical servers. As a recent article in Forbes suggests, “cloud computing is no longer an oxymoron.”
  • Accessible from anywhere. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can access your project management software in the cloud. Because access is achieved through a web browser, it’s also possible to allow team members to view, edit and manage documents via devices other than computers.
  • Connected team. Even when workers are separated by miles, they can feel part of a cohesive unit with a cloud-based solution. Because everyone receives to-the-minute updates, no one relevant to the project is accidentally left out of the conversation. Furthermore, conversations can be conducted in the project space (instead of via email) and stored for future reference.
  • Increased productivity. Thanks to a centralized location where all project summaries, tasks, documents, newsfeeds and calendars are kept, cloud-based project management solutions can save time. And when time is saved, productivity can increase. In addition, a centralized location allows team members to access project documents in real time wherever they are located.
  • Real-time communication. One of the biggest benefits of using project management software in the cloud is the ability to give quick feedback on information as soon as it’s uploaded to the project workspace. This can also increase productivity because it lowers the instances of work that needs to be redone.
  • Up-to-date, data-driven decisions. As a business looking to become—and stay—profitable, it’s important to base decisions on more than just a whim. Thanks to the fact cloud-based software is instantaneously updated, you have the necessary information at your fingertips. In addition, most tools will have built-in reports to bring you the insights you need to make business-related decisions.
  • Simplified IT. When you use on-premises project management software, you are typically responsible for server maintenance, which requires the attention of internal IT personnel. Cloud-based software, on the other hand, is maintained for you by the service provider (or another resource)—saving you the time and hassle of dealing with any updates or bugs, and allowing you to focus on running your projects smoothly.
  • Instant updates. Unlike on-premises software, which requires you to download updates whenever a new version is released, cloud-based tools are updated automatically. There’s no need to pay to upgrade your entire application suite or wait for your IT team to have the time available to implement the updates.

Steps for finding the best cloud-based project management solution for you

Unfortunately, getting started with a new project management solution isn’t as simple as understanding the difference between on-premises and web-based, cloud choices. Selecting the best solution for your company requires several steps—but the end result is worth the effort you put forth. Follow these steps to decide on a qualified service provider.

Step 1: Conduct a needs analysis.

This won’t come as a shock to you, but every company is different—with different sizes, different goals and different needs. That means it’s up to your company to decide exactly which solution fits you best. Be sure those who actually will use the product have a voice in the discussion. Consider factors like whether your projects only involve internal employees or external clients as well, or what kinds of reports you will need to run. Once you know your needs, it’s easier to evaluate service providers based on the features they offer.

Step 2: Research, research, research.

When searching for a service provider, be on the lookout for those that offer the following features:

  • Enterprise-grade reliability
  • Ability to add teams and projects quickly
  • Reporting features that give quick insights about your portfolio
  • A familiar environment or at least one that’s easy to navigate and use
  • Ability to see and act on tasks in one location
  • Scheduling capabilities that allow you to plan and manage tasks effectively
  • Summary dashboards for data-driven decisions
  • 24/7 IT support
  • Continuous data backup, disaster recovery and globally redundant data centers
  • Scalable solution that grows with your business

Step 3: Take a test drive.

In the same way you’d test drive a vehicle before purchasing it, you should try out a project management solution before implementation. Test drives allow you to get a closer look at a tool’s features and imagine how the tool would work in a situation similar to yours.

Step 4: Consider timeline and process for implementation.

If you’ve decided to go with an online-based tool for project management, it doesn’t matter if it matches up well with your current applications—this only applies to on-premises solutions. But you will need to consider when you will have the manpower and budget to make the switch, and then coordinate with your chosen service provider to make it happen.

Step 5: Implement and train.

You’ve finally implemented a new project management software solution. Congratulations! But unfortunately, your work isn’t complete. It’s important to make sure your employees have the training they need to use the new tool effectively. Set up multiple sessions so everyone can work one into their schedule. In addition, create practice projects so everyone has a chance to explore and become familiar with the tool’s features before they have to use it in the real world.

Project management in the cloud is the wave of the future. Find a tool that works for you—and don’t be left behind.

For more information about moving to the cloud check out our eBook: Myths About Moving to the Cloud.

Contact the Atidan team at http://bit.ly/1QwmS5Y for additional information and a no obligation PMO / PM briefing!

Credit to https://blogs.office.com/2015/11/18/the-future-of-planning-online-project-planning-in-the-cloud/