Tuesday, 7 October 2014

One-Time Passcode for Office 365 Message Encryption is now available!

Previously when you sent an email, encrypted using the Office 365 Message Encryption, recipient would need to sign in using their Microsoft Account (or if they didn't have one, they would need to create one) to be able to view the message. Although this was (and is) a good solution for some customers, majority of customers didn't find it very convenient as it would not provide a great experience to the recipients who could be their business partners, suppliers or customers.

Now, there is a second option available to recipients who don’t have Microsoft Accounts (or don’t want to have one) and don’t want to sign in to view the encrypted messages. You can now choose the option “DON’T WANT TO CREATE A MICROSOFT ACCOUNT? GET A ONE-TIME PASSCODE TO VIEW THE MESSAGE” to access the encrypted message using a one-time passcode. You still will have the option to sign in using your Microsoft Account or if you don’t have one, you have an option to create one.
Diagram showing steps to get a one-time passcode

When you select the one-time passcode option, you will receive an email which contains a passcode, and a notification will be shown on the webpage that indicates a passcode is sent to your email address. You then need to get the passcode from your email and enter it in the webpage and click “Continue”. You will now be able to see the message in an OWA style webpage.

Read more: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/use-a-one-time-passcode-to-view-an-encrypted-message.aspx

Monday, 21 April 2014

What’s new in April 2014 update of Excel Online

Some of the new features added to Excel Online in the April 2014 update, now available in both OneDrive (previously SkyDrive) and Office 365, are as follows:

Office.com is the place to get going with Excel Online

Now, it’s much easier—just go to http://office.com and click the type of document you want to create.
Authoring (inserting, editing, and deleting) comments

Users of Excel Online have been able to see comments on cells for a while, but until now there has been no way to add new comments to a cell. With this release, the ability to insert new comments as well as edit (and even delete) existing comments is added to Excel Online. Long-time Excel users may notice that the experience has been modernized—the text of a comment now shows in a task pane that contains all of the comments for the active sheet (making it easy to jump between cells with comments by simply clicking the comment in the task pane). 
Working with comments in Excel Online is now easier than ever, and is consistent with Word and PowerPoint Online.

Editing files with VBA

The capability of editing files that contain VBA without removing (or corrupting) the VBA contained in the file is now added to Excel Online. That means that if you have a file that you use in Excel Online sometimes and in desktop Excel other times, you can do that, taking advantage of the VBA in the desktop, and keeping it intact when you’re using it in a web browser.
XLSM files (with Macros) can now be edited in Excel Online, without removing the VBA.
Hiding and unhiding rows and columns

Previous releases of Excel Online have correctly displayed—by not displaying—hidden rows and columns, and there have been some “hacks” to hide and unhide those cells. With this release, Microsoft has added support for the most common way that users hide and unhide rows and columns, using a context menu that appears when you right-click a row or column header—just like in desktop Excel.

With this release of Excel Online, you can hide and unhide rows and columns just as you do in desktop Excel.
In-app feature search: Tell me what you want to do

We’ve all had that moment when we know what we want to do, but don’t quite remember how to do it, wondering, ”How do I change the font?” or “How do I find the median of a set of numbers?” Now, when you type a few characters in Tell Me, Excel Online will tell you exactly how to do what you want to do.

Tell me can quickly find any Excel command for you.
Customizable Status Bar Aggregates

Microsoft released an update in November that brought Status Bar Aggregates to Excel Online. With this update, several more aggregates where added , Min, Max, and Numerical Count; and by making the set of aggregates visible in the status bar configurable—just like in desktop Excel.
You can show the aggregates that are the most useful to you in the status bar.
You can show the aggregates that are the most useful to you in the status bar.
Get anywhere in your spreadsheet fast with GoTo

As Excel Online becomes more and more feature-rich, the spreadsheets being created are more and more similar to spreadsheets created with desktop Excel. That means larger, more complex spreadsheets and a greater need to quickly navigate around your masterpiece. Enter GoTo (Ctrl+G), a “pro” feature that allows you to quickly type in a reference and jump to that location in the spreadsheet.

You can jump to a place in your spreadsheet fast by typing a reference in GoTo.

Office 365 is now available in China, operated by 21Vianet

Office 365 is now available in China, operated by 21Vianet. Microsoft has more than 20 years of experience delivering products and services to China. Now through unique partnership with 21Vianet, Microsoft offer Office 365 from local data centers within China. This announcement follows the general availability of Microsoft Azure, operated by 21Vianet, announced last month.

The launch of Office 365 operated by 21Vianet – together with Azure – provides customers in the market with the full power of public cloud services from Microsoft.

Read more here.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Step by Step guide to creating a new custom Azure Rights Management Template

Microsoft recently announced the preview of the new custom Azure RMS templates.  Custom templates let you define the protection policies you would like to roll out within your organization. Whether your organization is using Azure RMS in as part of your on premises deployment (via the RMS connector) or as part of Office 365, you can now do this via the Azure Management Portal.

Custom templates give you more flexibility in controlling how groups of users within the organization can access and use sensitive documents. With custom templates you can designate different groups of users that will have access to documents protected with these templates, and you can define an access level or a list of rights for each of these groups. You can also control for how long content protected with these templates will be accessible, and you can define whether you want to require users to be online to access the content (thus, getting maximum control over their ability to access the document in case your policies change over time and ensuring all accesses to the documents get logged) or you want to allow them to cache document licenses so they get the ability to access the content from disconnected locations for up to a defined period of time.

To create custom templates, you can follow these steps:

On the Office 365 Admin page go to Service Settings

Click on the Rights Management tab and then select Manage

On the Right Management page click on additional configuration

This will now take you to the Azure management portal. You will need to have an Azure subscription to proceed. If you don’t you will need to click on the Sign up option and register your subscription:

When you initially activate Azure Rights Management capabilities in your organization two default Rights Policy Templates are automatically that cover the most common needs in the majority of organizations. These are called “<Organization> – Confidential” and “<Organization> – Confidential View Only” and give all users in your organization either full access or restricted access to the documents protected with them.
Once logged in to the Azure Management Portal, navigate to ACTIVE DIRECTORY
Then select the RIGHTS MANAGEMENT tab and click on your organization name
You can now see the option to create additional Rights Management templates for Office 365

Now select Create an additional rights policy template to create a new policy
Select Language of the policy, policy name and description and submit.
Once the new policy is created, you can navigate to Manage your rights policy templates, and click on the policy you just created in order to edit it.

On the policy edit splash page, select the Rights tab

And then click GET STARTED NOW

On the CONFIGURE RIGHTS page, you can assign rights to users or groups. In this article I am applying rights to a user.
Click next.

Confirm your selection and close.

Now you can also go to the CONFIGURE tab and configure the content expiration and offline access settings.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

You can now enable simplified login between Office 365 and Yammer

Administrators can now enable user mapping between Office 365 and Yammer in the Office 365 tenant in just a few steps.

When you opt into Yammer as your default social experience in Office 365, Office 365 users are mapped to their existing Yammer accounts. This means that when you click Yammer from your Office 365 global navigation bar, you do not need to authenticate again. Office 365 users without existing Yammer accounts are taken to a streamlined sign-up and verification process.
  1. Sign in to Office 365 using an Office 365 global administrator account.  
  2. Select Admin, and then select SharePoint.
  3. Once you are in the SharePoint admin center, select Settings.
  4. On the Settings page, under Enterprise Social Collaboration, select Use Yammer.com service.

Now you are all set. When you click Yammer from Office 365, you won’t have to log in again. You can start connecting with people using Yammer right away.

You can apply Yammer as your organization’s social network in the SharePoint admin center, on the Settings page, to simplify Yammer login for your Office 365 users.

If you previously made Yammer the primary social experience for your organization, Microsoft will automatically backfill your Office 365 tenant with this new behaviour and notify you about the update by April 2014. But you can manually enable the behaviour today by reapplying Yammer as your primary social experience:
  1. In the SharePoint admin center, select Settings.
  2. On the Settings page, under Enterprise Social Collaboration, click the Use SharePoint Newsfeed button to clear it, and then select Use Yammer.com service and click OK to apply the changes. 

Each of these two updates might take up to 30 minutes to complete. Once the updates have completed, Yammer replaces Newsfeed in the Office 365 navigation. You can still access the SharePoint Newsfeed through Sites.

User mapping does not provide a complete Yammer single sign-on (SSO) solution. With user mapping, you do not need to log in again when you click Yammer in Office 365. However, when you browse to Yammer.com directly or use the Yammer mobile apps, you still need to log in with your Yammer.com credentials.

Compare this to Yammer single sign-on, where you log in using single credentials (typically your company credentials), whether you go through the Office 365 global navigation, use the Yammer mobile apps, or browse directly to Yammer.com. To secure all the entry points to Yammer, it is still recommended that you use Yammer directory sync and Yammer single sign-on.

 Source: http://blogs.office.com/2014/02/18/simplified-login-to-yammer-from-office-365/

Monday, 10 February 2014

Multi-Factor Authentication for Office 365 is now available!

Multi-Factor Authentication for Office 365 is now available to Office 365 Midsize Business, Enterprise plans, Academic plans, Nonprofit plans, and standalone Office 365 plans, including Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. This will allow organizations with these subscriptions to enable multi-factor authentication for their Office 365 users without requiring any additional purchase or subscription.

Multi-factor authentication has been available for Office 365 administrative roles since June 2013, and today this capability is extended to any Office 365 user. Microsoft is also enhancing the capabilities that have been available since June by adding App Passwords for users so they can authenticate from Office desktop applications as these are not yet updated to enable multi-factor authentication. Users who are authenticated from a federated on-premises directory will also can be enabled for multi-factor authentication.

Multi-factor authentication increases the security of user logins for cloud services above and beyond just a password. With Multi-Factor Authentication for Office 365, users are required to acknowledge a phone call, text message, or an app notification on their smartphone after correctly entering their password. Only after this second authentication factor has been satisfied can a user sign in.

Any of the following may be used for the second factor of authentication.
  1. Call my mobile phone. The user receives a phone call that asks them to press the pound key. Once the pound key is pressed, the user is logged in.
  2. Text code to my mobile phone. The user receives a text message containing a six-digit code that they must enter into the portal.
  3. Call my office phone. This is the same as Call my mobile phone, but it enables the user to select a different phone if they do not have their mobile phone with them.
  4. Notify me through app. The user configured a smartphone app and they receive a notification in the app that they must confirm the login. Smartphone apps are available for Windows Phone, iPhone, and Android devices.
  5. Show one-time code in app. The same smartphone app is used. Instead of receiving a notification, the user starts the app and enters the six-digit code from the app into the portal.
Soon Office 365 customers will be able to use multi-factor authentication directly from Office 2013 client applications. Microsoft is planning to add native multi-factor authentication for applications such as Outlook, Lync, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PowerShell, and OneDrive for Business, with a release date planned for later in 2014. This update includes the current phone-based multi-factor authentication, and it adds capability to integrate other forms of authentication such as: third-party multi-factor authentication solutions and smart cards. Smart card support is planned to include the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Common Access Card (CAC) and the U.S. Federal Personal Identity Verification card (PIV), among others.

Source: http://blogs.office.com/2014/02/10/multi-factor-authentication-for-office-365/ Amin Tavakoli

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Directory Synchronization object limit increased to 300,000

All customers of Azure Active Directory and Office 365 have a default object limit of 50,000 objects (users, mail-enabled contacts, and groups) by default.

This limit determines how many objects you can create in your tenant.
Objects can be created using DirSync, Powershell or the GRAPH API.
When you verify your first domain, this object limit is automatically increased to 300,000 objects.
Each tenant is only granted one increase.

If you have verified a domain and need to synchronize more than 300,000 objects OR you do not have any domains to verify, and need to synchronize more than 50,000 objects, you will need to contact Azure Active Directory Support to request an increase to your object quota limit.

By Amin Tavakoli