Introducing Microsoft Teams—the Chat-Based Workspace in Office 365

Microsoft just announced Microsoft Teams—the new chat-based workspace in Office 365. Microsoft Teams is an entirely new experience that brings together people, conversations and content—along with the tools that teams need—so they can easily collaborate to achieve more. It’s naturally integrated with the familiar Office applications and is built from the ground up on the Office 365 global, secure cloud. Starting today, Microsoft Teams is available in preview in 181 countries and in 18 languages to commercial customers with Office 365 Enterprise or Business plans, with general availability expected in the first quarter of 2017.

At Microsoft, we are deeply committed to the mission of helping people and organizations achieve more—and reinventing productivity for the cloud and mobile world is core to our ambition. We built Microsoft Teams because we see both tremendous opportunity and tremendous change in how people and teams get work done. Teams are now more agile and organizational structures more flat to keep communications and information flowing. With Microsoft Teams, we aspire to create a more open, digital environment that makes work visible, integrated and accessible—across the team—so everyone can stay in the know.

Microsoft Teams delivers on four core promises to create a digital workspace for high performing teams.

Chat for today’s teams

First and foremost, Microsoft Teams provides a modern conversation experience for today’s teams. Microsoft Teams supports not only persistent but also threaded chats to keep everyone engaged. Team conversations are, by default, visible to the entire team, but there is of course the ability for private discussions. Skype is deeply integrated, so teams can participate in voice and video conferences. And everyone can add personality to their digital workspace with emojis, stickers, GIFs and custom memes to make it their own.

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A hub for teamwork

Second, Microsoft Teams brings together the full breadth and depth of Office 365 to provide a true hub for teamwork. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve are all built into Microsoft Teams so people have all the information and tools they need at their fingertips. Backed by the Microsoft Graph, intelligent services are surfaced throughout the workspace to help with information relevancy, discovery and sharing. Microsoft Teams is also built on Office 365 Groups—our cross-application membership service that makes it easy for people to move naturally from one collaboration tool to another, preserve their sense of context and share with others.

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Customizable for each team

Third, since all teams are unique, we’ve invested deeply in ways for people to customize their workspace, with rich extensibility and open APIs available at general availability. For example, Tabs provides quick access to frequently used documents and cloud services. Microsoft Teams also shares the same Connector model as Exchange, providing notifications and updates from third-party services like Twitter or GitHub. Further, we are including full support for the Microsoft Bot Framework to bring intelligent first- and third-party services into your team environment.

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Today, we are also announcing the Microsoft Teams Developer Preview program, allowing developers to extend Microsoft Teams. We will have integrations with over 150 partners at general availability—including our early partners Zendesk, Asana, Hootsuite and Intercom. This is the first step in providing the customization users want and the tools and support our developer community will need to integrate with Microsoft Teams.

Security teams trust

Finally, Microsoft Teams provides the advanced security and compliance capabilities that our Office 365 customers expect. Data is encrypted in transit and at rest. Like all our commercial services, we have a transparent operational model with no standing access to customer data. Microsoft Teams will support key compliance standards including EU Model Clauses, ISO 27001, SOC 2, HIPAA and more. And, as customers would expect, Microsoft Teams is served out of our hyper-scale global network of data centers, automatically provisioned within Office 365 and managed centrally, just as any other Office 365 service.

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Microsoft Teams joins the Office 365 universal toolkit

Microsoft Teams joins the broadest and deepest portfolio of collaboration applications and services to help solve the diverse needs of people and organizations globally. As we’ve learned from our 85 million active monthly users, all groups have a diverse set of needs when it comes to working together. Office 365 is designed for the unique workstyle of every group and includes purpose-built applications, all deeply integrated together.

  • Exchange is the undisputed leader in corporate email and according to Gartner has “80 percent share of companies using cloud email with revenue above $10 billion.”
  • SharePoint provides intranets and content management solutions to more than 200,000 organizations and 190 million people.
  • Yammer is the social network for work, enabling cross-company discussions for 85 percent of the Fortune 500.
  • Skype for Business provides real-time voice, video and conferencing and hosts more than 100 million meetings a month.
  • Office 365 Groups is our cross-application membership service that makes it easy for people to move naturally from one collaboration tool to another.

Contact the Atidan team at office365@atidan.com for additional information, free trial of Office 365 and special deployment offers!

 

Blog credit: https://blogs.office.com/2016/11/02/introducing-microsoft-teams-the-chat-based-workspace-in-office-365/

4 Must-Haves in Setting Up a Business Email Like an IT Pro

Email haters, beware! A recent survey has proven that email is the top tool used for communication at work and will increase in importance during the next five years. The survey also showed that employees spend 3.2 hours each day checking work-related emails. A separate study by The Radicati Group declared that an average of 122 business emails were sent and received per user per day last year.

What does all this data mean? It’s a good reminder that email is, and will continue to be, a mission-critical application for any business—whether small or large. When setting up a business email solution, there are many factors to consider, especially if yours is a small or midsized company targeted to grow in the next few years.

Setting up a business email like an IT pro

To find the best email service for your business, only consider those that meet the following must-have criteria:

  1. Hosted email solution—There are two main options for business email setup: in-house and hosted email. For many businesses, the total cost of ownership related to in-house email does not make good financial sense. It might mean imposed storage limits, which are inconvenient to your employees, and it translates into your company being responsible for upgrades and backups.
    However, when you use a hosted email solution, email hosting services take the burden of operation from your IT team’s shoulders. Hosted email service for business users also can provide dynamic storage options and scale to meet your company where it is in its growth cycle.
  2. Adequate server space—Depending on how large your company is and how much email storage it needs, you will need to choose between shared and dedicated hosting. Many small companies start with shared hosting—which means your physical server is used by multiple tenants—because it is extremely affordable and still provides all the benefits of email hosting services, including security, reliability and privacy. When that shared server space is no longer enough, companies can scale up to dedicated email servers for business. There is often more customization available with a dedicated solution too.
  3. Mobile access—In today’s fast-paced business world, compatibility between your email solution and your workers’ mobile devices is crucial. Not only is it necessary for your employees to be able to access their business emails when away from their desks, it’s also important that you consider an email solution with mobile calendar and document sharing capabilities. In addition, make a selection that is consistently upgraded for mobile technology and allows for syncing with other devices.
  4. A solid provider—When selecting an email service for business purposes, the “who” is just as important as the “what.” Choose a company you can trust, with years of proven experience providing superb email hosting services. Specifically, look for a provider with a strong uptime guarantee, high reliability and fantastic security. The provider’s email solution should make your employees’ jobs easier, including features such as integration between the calendar, contacts and files; a shared calendar feature; and 24/7 support from experts.

It’s fairly evident that email isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Organizations should take great care when setting up a business email solution in order to increase efficiency and have a positive effect on the bottom line.

Let Atidan help your business flourish in the email world. For more information, contact us at office365@atidan.com.

Reference: https://blogs.office.com/2016/09/08/4-must-haves-in-setting-up-a-business-email-like-an-it-pro/

IM on it—Why Instant Messaging is Collaboration’s Secret Weapon

Implementing an instant messaging platform is important for productivity for teams of all sizes. Enabling a system for quick, informal, easy-to-reference and mobile chats keeps teams connected for nimble collaborations—resulting in a major value-add to your business.

How much value, exactly? Businesses that have embraced instant messaging practice have seen remarkable improvements in productivity and streamlined communication. According to a survey of employees using chat services conducted by SoftwareAdvice.com, 75 percent saw decreased call and email volume, and 66 percent noticed quick resolution for simple questions. When it comes to productivity, 21 percent noted either moderate or significant increase.

IM instant messaging is collaborations secret weapon FI

As company-wide IM benefits become clear, more and more businesses are getting on board. If you’re interested in these benefits but are wary to ensure proper implementation and use throughout your company, provide best practices for your employees to reference to increase productivity and reduce frustrating growing pains.

Don’t shoot the messenger

The following five best practices help ensure successful adoption and usage of IM in your organization:

  1. Provide a company-wide solution—Don’t require employees to use personal accounts; implement a company-provided instant messaging offering. This will streamline features and allow all your employees to find each other to chat.
  2. Choose a secure solution with robust featuresCompliance standards (like HIPPA, DPAS and FISMA, FERPA and banking) apply to more than just email and other secure information sources. Ensure that all your business communication tools align with common compliance standards.
  3. Integrate with other collaboration tools—Standalone instant messengers can leave employees with cumbersome roadblocks. Ensure your solution integrates seamlessly with other tools like business email, phone and video conferencing. Encourage employees to start conversations within project-specific documentation, so that the goal of the conversation remains clear and important information can be easily referenced.
  4. Empower employees to set and respect boundaries—Being reachable 24/7 is unrealistic and sets up your employees for burnout. Encourage colleagues to mute their instant messaging tool for periods of private productivity and focus, then remind co-workers to respect that virtual space.
  5. Don’t replace email completely—Instant messaging is a great option to communicate with even the most inbox-overwhelmed colleagues. But, instant messaging should not replace email or other collaboration tools that are core to keeping record of memorialized conversations. Set standards and show examples of the types of content best handled via IM, email or other project management tools. A general rule is length, if the message will contain more than a few words or sentences, email remains the best option.

A valuable tool for company-wide collaboration, instant messengers should be used to keep employees productive—not distracted or stressed. By implementing and encouraging best practices and sticking with a solution that includes everything you need to implement these practice at the outset, you can see skyrocketing productivity and results.

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

Reference: https://blogs.office.com/2016/07/20/im-why-instant-messaging-is-collaborations-secret-weapon/

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/

11 Features to Get the Most Out of Your Business Email

In the world of work, email is a mainstay. It allows us all to communicate at lightning-fast speeds—without having to pick up the phone. It gives us the power to thoughtfully consider projects, questions, answers, opinions, requests and feedback, all of which opens the door to better communication. And it gives us the ability to see the progression of conversations without digging through a mountain of individual messages. However, most people aren’t taking full advantage of what their email systems offer. Sure, they know how to send messages, set tasks, make notes, block their calendars and schedule reminders, but there are also some pretty great features (and hacks) that you may not know about that could just transform the way you use business email. Let’s take a look:

  1. Future delivery/delayed delivery: Whether you have news that you don’t want to share immediately or a project that’s ready for delivery but you don’t want to submit it too early, future/delayed delivery allows you to create and distribute messages on your schedule.
  2. Message grouping: For heavy email users, the ability to group messages into conversations related to specific topics can help you keep track of emails, stay up to date on developments and work more efficiently.
  3. Conditional formatting: Like message grouping, conditional formatting can help you organize conversations and stay on top of a certain topic. However, instead of grouping all messages into a batch that you can browse at a glance, conditional formatting simply displays messages matching selected criteria in the font and/or color of your choice.
  4. Rules: Providing you with yet another organizational option, the rules feature allows you to create and manage settings that empower your email system to automatically process messages in a certain way. Some systems can check for and include sender, recipient, email size, date and more. This way, you’ll never miss a message from your boss or your most important client; messages with large attachments can be singled out, etc.
  5. Email to text: For those times when you need an immediate response, or need to contact someone who may not have access to his or her email account, a text message may be the best way to get in touch. Some business email providers offer this feature, others don’t. If yours does, it can help you relay urgent messages quickly. Just be careful to reserve use of this feature for those who prefer it or for truly critical situations—because it can be disruptive to receive a barrage of non-urgent text messages while in a meeting, on vacation, etc.
  6. Desktop alerts: Whether you need to reduce distractions for a day or indefinitely, by disabling desktop alerts you can eliminate pop-up notifications about new messages and focus on whatever the task at hand may be. Conversely, if you’re waiting for an important email that you can’t afford to miss by a moment, you can easily turn on desktop alerts for a few hours or turn them on and leave them on for good.
  7. Email templates: If you’re a PR exec, public information officer, customer service representative, work in sales or are in any position that requires you to field requests for information about a program, service, product or topic, email templates can help you make quick work of your responses. After creating your template, all you’ll have to do is locate the template, personalize it as necessary and hit send. Not only will it help you save time, but increase your productivity. Plus, by not having to repeat yourself over and again, it might just improve your job satisfaction.
  8. Save messages as files: If you want to save certain emails in the same file as project work, contracts or other documents, you can simply drag your message from your email window to your file folder. Or, you can click Save As and choose to save a message in a specific location. This way, you can refer back to messages without digging through your inbox and/or archive.
  9. Multi-action shortcuts: If your email system supports shortcuts, it may also support multi-action shortcuts, which gives you the ability to combine several shortcuts into one quick action. For instance, if you want to mark a group of emails as read and simultaneously move them to a specific folder, or even mark messages as read, flag them as important and forward them to your team, you can do that with multi-action shortcuts. Some email systems that support multi-action shortcuts also allow you to create your own shortcuts, so you can customize your actions and make quick work of managing your inbox.
  10. Automated cleanup: Some email systems include an automated cleanup function that can help you save space and keep your inbox tidy. When a conversation (message and response) occurs over email, some email systems can analyze the contents of that conversation and determine if a message is completely contained within each thread. If it is, then the previous message will be automatically deleted—so you’ll have access to both the original message and all comments within a single email conversation, but your inbox won’t be clogged by redundant emails.
    Of course, if someone keeps clogging up your inbox with messages you don’t need or want, you can generally block their messages by using your “junk” or “spam” filters. But if you don’t want to permanently prevent someone from contacting you via email, you can simply select to send certain conversations directly to your trash by clicking the Ignore button.
  11. Delegate access: Finally, if you’re going on sabbatical, an extended vacation or parental leave and you don’t want to either check messages daily or weekly—or come back to a mountain of email—you may be able to give someone else permission to manage your inbox. Simply look at your account settings. If you see a Delegate Access button—or something similar—you can choose to give access to a coworker who can step in and respond to messages in your absence. Of course, you’ll still have the ability to check messages and respond as appropriate, but this feature can help you keep things in check while you’re away.

Email continues to be an important tool in the business world, and your mastery of these tools will only enhance your value in the workplace. Hopefully, we have shared one or more features that you will introduce into your business arsenal, leading to increased productivity.

Related content:

Contact the Atidan team at http://bit.ly/1PVDnHg for additional information about business email solutions!

Credit to Microsoft Blog: http://bit.ly/1PVDnHi

Email Archiving—5 Reasons Why This is the Best Email Feature You Never Use

Whether you work in the corporate world or not, you probably send and receive multiple emails every day. It’s a fast, convenient way to communicate with peers, colleagues, clients, friends and family. Of course, email is an extremely popular communication tool for companies—in part because of its ability to document conversations and serve as a searchable repository of information.

In fact, studies suggest that three-fourths of an organization’s intellectual property is contained within email and messaging systems. That means it’s important to protect this data and not just send it to the trash. But keeping that much information can overload your company’s storage servers.

So what’s the best solution?

Email archiving is nothing new. The tool has been around for years—so why don’t more companies use it? Here are five benefits to using an email archiving solution:

  • Storage. When email data is stored on live servers, it can greatly reduce performance as the server gets fuller. The only other options are to delete emails altogether—not a wise option, since important data can be lost forever—or store them elsewhere. Email archiving follows this latter option and moves data to a secure off-site server or cloud environment. Some solutions use advanced compression and/or deduplication to reduce the required disk space in the archive—sometimes by 50 percent or more.
  • Restoration. Depending on what backup solutions you already have in place, email archiving can speed up the process whenever your data needs to be restored. This is because the archived data takes up less space. In addition, restoring non-archived emails becomes faster and easier, because the mail server’s data load is lessened.
  • Security. Just because your old emails are “out of sight” and stored elsewhere doesn’t mean they aren’t protected as well as emails in your live inbox environment. If you’ve got the right email archiving solution, your data is immutably preserved and safeguarded with continuous data backup and premier disaster recovery capabilities. For the best service, look for a provider that delivers reliability, availability and performance with a guaranteed 99.9 percent uptime and financially backed service level agreement.
  • Productivity. When your live servers are bogged down with tons of email data, it can make searching for a specific email or a specific subject grueling and slow. In addition, by getting rid of email box quotas and setting up automatic email archiving, employees no longer have to spend precious time deleting emails or moving them to PST files like the old days. Finally, when you give your employees the ability to easily access archived and backed up email data, you place the power in their hands—meaning they won’t have to engage the IT department to do it for them.
  • Compliance. Most industries require organizations to keep business records—and since emails often contain such records, deleting them is a no-no. Specific industries like health care, financial services, pharmaceuticals and energy have even stricter regulations about what business records must be kept.

When you consider an email archiving solution, remember to research providers and select one that will deliver a user-friendly solution that keeps you in control and maintains high standards of security and reliability.

Related content:

Credit to Microsoft Office Team:https://blogs.office.com/2015/11/05/email-archiving-the-best-email-feature-you-never-use/

Microsoft Exchange Advanced Threat Protection Launch

Pleased to announce that an Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) service is available now to all Exchange/Office 365 subscribers (Coming August 1 for volume (Open/EA) license customers). You already have Microsoft’s Exchange Online Protection (EOP) at no charge to protect against spam and malware. Exchange Advanced Threat Protection or ATP is a new offering launched this week and is priced at $2 per user per month. You can activate any number of licenses to suit your needs – try it for your top executive team, for users who work with sensitive content or for your entire enterprise.

Key benefits and my comments include:

1.  Better protection against day zero viruses and unknown malware

  a.  Even after EOP filtering, something that has never been seen before can get through filters

  b.  Machine learning with behavior analysis watches content and makes real time validations called Safe Attachments

    i. Could cause possible message delays in suspicious message receipt fyi

2.  Real time protection against malicious URLs

   a.  Protect against phishing attacks and redirection

   b.  Check is performed at time of reading

         i.  Note this could cause a time delay while URL is scanned as the link is clicked

3.  Reporting and URL Tracing

a.  Analyze patterns of attacks, categories of attacks and conduct investigations

It is hard to put a value on this service but the cost is insignificant compared to the cost of an attack such as the Cryptolocker virus. One single incident could dwarf the costs of this subscription and I’ve posted a great white paper study from Ponemon detailing the average data breach cost .

Active Atidan clients can get our assistance to turn on this service at NO CHARGE. Additional consulting is always available to help you with new security features in Office 365 such as Rights Management, Encryption, eDiscovery, Legal Hold, Archiving and more.

Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection

Protect your email in real time against unknown and sophisticated attacks.

Secure your mailboxes against advanced threats

New malware campaigns are being launched every day, and Office 365 has a solution to help protect your email against them. With Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection, you can protect your mailboxes against new, sophisticated attacks in real time. By protecting against unsafe attachments and expanding protection against malicious links, it complements the security features of Exchange Online Protection to provide better zero-day protection.

Protect against unsafe attachments

With Safe Attachments, you can prevent malicious attachments from impacting your messaging environment, even if their signatures are not known. All suspicious content goes through a real-time behavioral malware analysis that uses machine learning techniques to evaluate the content for suspicious activity. Unsafe attachments are sandboxed in a detonation chamber before being sent to recipients. The advantage is a malware free and cleaner inbox with better zero-day attack protection.

Protect your environment when users click malicious links

Exchange Online Protection provides protection against malicious links by scanning content. Safe Links expands on this by protecting your environment when users click a link. While the content is being scanned, the URLs are rewritten to go through Office 365. The URLs are examined in real time, at the time a user clicks them. If a link is unsafe, the user is warned not to visit the site or informed that the site has been blocked. Reporting is available, so administrators can track which users clicked a link and when they clicked it.

Get rich reporting and track links in messages

Gain critical insights into who is being targeted in your organization and the category of attacks you are facing. Reporting and message trace allow you to investigate messages that have been blocked due to unknown viruses or malware, while URL trace capability allows you to track individual malicious links in the messages that have been clicked.