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/

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/

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/

 

Stay connected wherever work takes you

If you ever travel for business or work remotely, like 23 percent of U.S. employees do, you rely on communication tools to stay in touch with your partners and clients whether you’re inside or outside the office. You need the most up-to-date technology to ensure your work isn’t limited by location or circumstance, but what should you look for in your communication tools?

Here’s our list of five non-negotiable features:

  1. You’re easy to get ahold of—Want to make it easier for people to connect with you no matter where you are? Use your email signature to let others contact you directly, be it cellphone, a remote office number or an online number. With Office 365, you can make your Outlook signature phone number link directly to your Skype for Business address. Your information will be linked automatically, so others can instantly communicate with you in real-time. Read this TechNet article to find out how to create a TEL:// or SIP:// link in your signature.
  2. Take calls from the device that is easiest for you—While constantly on the go, collaboration isn’t limited to your office. You may need to start a call or presentation in your office before transferring to your cellphone to wrap it up on the road. Skype for Business allows you to do so without disrupting your workflow. If you’re on a call or presenting from your computer but have to leave the office, Skype for Business enables you to seamlessly transition your conversation across devices. You can either change the device connected to the PC or transfer to mobile.
  3. Run presentations and share your applications with ease—Running a meeting with remote participants can be tricky, especially when you’re giving a presentation. You shouldn’t have to compromise a quality voice connection for a simple screen share—nor should you feel the need to run a meeting across multiple platforms. Skype for Business makes the process as simple as possible by letting you share PowerPoint slide shows directly in a meeting. No need to worry about sharing files and emailing links, you can just focus on your presentation.
  4. Record meetings—Not sure about some of those key points that were mentioned during your call? Or was a colleague or partner not present? Multimedia recording features should always be included with business-class communication tools. With Office and Skype for Business, you can record and replay presentations and video, so any of those details that might have been missed are always a click away.
  5. Communicate with those outside your organization—It’s unlikely everyone you talk to outside your company will use the same communication tools as you, so it’s important to look for a tool that offers ease of use for guests. Fortunately, connecting with non-Skype for Business users is not a problem. Accessing the conference or meeting as a guest is simple, and the security and robust features the host relies on remain standard.

Several barriers to communication and collaboration can arise when you’re working outside the office. Fortunately, Skype for Business can help. It’s more than just a video chat option; it has the features to keep you connected and make work as accessible as possible.

Try out these tips with your Skype for Business account and read up on additional features in our free eBook.

 

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

Reference: https://blogs.office.com/2016/08/01/stay-connected-wherever-work-takes-you/

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/

Introducing Microsoft Designer and Morph for PowerPoint

Taking Presentations to The Next Level

PowerPoint Designer and Morph are new intelligent tools that work for you by automating the creation of slides and presentations, helping everyone get more out of Office. With a cloud-powered recommendation engine and smart animation technology, these new PowerPoint capabilities help anyone create polished slides and captivating motion effects with just a few quick steps.

Check out our video here!

Introducing PowerPoint Designer

PowerPoint Designer allows anyone to create high quality professional slides within seconds. Just drop an image into your presentation and Designer provides you with several design ideas. Select your favorite and you’re done! This allows you to spend less time figuring out how to produce high quality designs and more time preparing for that key moment—your presentation.

The evolution of PowerPoint 1

This all works thanks to a powerful combination of automated design and smart image analysis. PowerPoint Designer was built in collaboration with professional graphic designers, who helped develop over 12,000 creative blueprints. Designer applies cloud intelligence to analyze and identify the most compelling portion of your images to determine which blueprints work best with your content. For example, if the visual contains a natural scene, Designer can zoom, crop and frame it. But if the image contains a chart, it focuses in on the relevant region to ensure the important data is highlighted. Designer then selects from the 12,000+ blueprints to provide multiple layout options to help you make the most of your image. The end result is a high quality and customized presentation—in seconds.

This first release of Designer will do amazing things, but it’s going to get even better with time. In the coming months, we will expand Designer to work with additional slide types.

Create cinematic motion with Morph

Morph creates cinematic motion by seamlessly animating between your slides. Morph doesn’t just animate regular text or images, it can animate 3-D shapes or be applied at a word or even character level, including text wrapping. Simply duplicate slides you want morphed together, move the objects based on how you want them to animate and click the Morph button under Transitions. You’ll be amazed with the quality of animations you create with just one click.

The evolution of PowerPoint 2

Exclusively available to Office 365 subscribers, PowerPoint Designer and Morph are premium authoring and editing features. PowerPoint Designer and Morph are available first in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows desktop and Windows Mobile, but expect to see these same features rolling out to other platforms in the coming months.

For additional information and a free Microsoft Office 365 trial please contact us at http://bit.ly/1S1GRHs credit to: Microsoft http://bit.ly/1S1GU64