One of my peers in the UK has mandated that all communications going forward must happen within #MicrosoftTeams. That’s very forward-thinking, but it lacks flexibility.

Different people have different styles. There’s the traditional telephone or mobile call; the mobile text; email; and even Facebook Messenger, not to mention a Twitter direct message or a LinkedIn InMail. I suppose you could even consider Instagram comments. Heck, any social media platform has its unique way to communicate, either privately or in public.

Last week I had the bright idea to bring back a practice that I exercised many years back. I set up a ticketing helpdesk using a unique email address as a trigger to create a ticket. The result has been chaos rather than with notifications in duplicate and triplicate flying all over, lighting up all my screens. Perhaps I have the wrong ticketing system, but it’s one of the most widely used ticketing platforms with integrations to every application you can imagine. I especially don’t like that it takes me too far away from a Microsoft-centric system.

The bottom line: I would love to have #MicrosoftTeams as the primary method of contact, but I have to respect every individual and company with their own processes. Who am I to impose on their comfort zone? It’s my pleasure to welcome all forms of contact.

The screenshot above was taken from the Enterprise Mobility + Security section of Microsoft’s website.

But there’s something distinctly missing from this picture: Where are the servers of yore, such as Windows Server 2016? Answer: In the cloud, specifically within the Azure cloud platform.

This is a change in IT culture that reflects societal changes, such as Millenials becoming the predominant force in the workplace. Millenials and others (like us hippies, err, Baby Boomers) want the freedom to work from anywhere, especially now that those Baby Boomers have transformed into Snow Birds, yet still remain active in their business or career.

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), not to be confused with Azure, the overall cloud platform, or Active Directory, the directory service that Microsoft developed for Windows domain-based networks, will eventually take a front seat in identity management by leveraging its web-based nature. And Azure AD extends into other Office 365 functions, such as single sign-on (SSO) access and cloud-based security that we find in Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS). Each Office 365, Azure, and Dynamics CRM Online tenant is actually an Azure AD tenant.

Even larger enterprises are recognizing the value of security. Here’s a case study describing how Hearst Communications has changed with the times by turning to Azure AD and EMS.

In short, we’re going to see fewer instances of and more Azure AD, especially for smaller businesses in the SMB range. The funny thing is, you’re likely already using Azure AD if you use Office 365 or even a Hotmail account.

What if your fired employee has destroyed your company data?

I was trying to help a colleague earlier today who has a new client with a recently terminated employee. And before that employee left, the worker deleted all of their emails, which, of course, is company property. To make matters worse, they deleted everything from the Deleted Items folder. And nothing was found in the Recover Deleted Items tool.

By default, your email data is retained for just 14 days after a deletion. But if you enable Litigation Hold, then even deleted items are retained ‘forever’. Litigation Hold is only available in Office 365 plans that include Exchange Online Plan 2, such as the Enterprise plans. This is one of the very important reasons why I use the E3 plan and recommend it to all small business clients.

With Litigation Hold in place, then a Content Search reveals results in Office 365’s Security & Compliance section of the Admin portal, including maliciously deleted emails from long ago.

Limited Offer: I’d be pleased to conduct a live tour of Office 365 and its data governance features for you alone or for your entire group. Please use this link to schedule time for your convenience.

> Scott Abbotts > Resolute IT > > (727) 203-6959 mobile > Cloud and Managed Services > HelpDesk > Onsite Remediation > Consulting > Certified > Experienced > Punctual > Quiet

Some people wonder which to use as their collaboration tool in #Office365.

#MicrosoftTeams is fantastic for collaboration. Chat is built-in, so you can text back and forth with a colleague privately or address your thoughts to the group. Key to collaboration is the co-authoring of documents. When co-authoring in Teams, you get a chat window right alongside the document, already populated with your co-authors. If a web-based meeting is in order, either two people in a 1 to 1 call or up to 20 group members at the same time, then these scenarios can happen as a planned meeting or as an ad hoc event for the impromptu occasion.

But #OneNote can also be used to collaborate, especially in very small groups. It’s possible to share and co-author an Office 365 document, such as a Word, Excel or PowerPoint file, but not within OneNote like you can within Teams. That said, co-authoring is possible throughout OneNote, but only on Pages that you’ve created there. Office 365 document sharing would have to be initiated via SharePoint, OneDrive (not OneNote!) or Teams, but the co-authoring would happen outside of OneNote.

How small can a Team be? I use Teams as a single user, but only to play around. As soon as another person arrives, then you’ve got yourself a Team. And the person in question doesn’t have to be a member of your organization – guest access is allowed. It might seem to be overkill for just two members of a Microsoft Team, but I challenge you to try it.

Limited Offer: I’d be pleased to conduct a live tour of Teams or OneNote for you alone or your group. Please use this link to schedule time for your convenience.

> Scott Abbotts > Resolute IT > > (727) 203-6959 mobile > Cloud and Managed Services > HelpDesk > Onsite Remediation > Consulting > Certified > Experienced > Punctual > Quiet

At one time I had five blaring servers running in my living room. As I learned about cloud-based technology that would stifle those da*n things and gain my space back, I started making changes to my absurd situation. Now I’m 100% cloud-based and love it. I am free and I have peace of mind.

And my data is my data. Period. I might pay for the service to have it housed, but it’s mine and I know it’s safe. It’s also nice to know that my data is encrypted both in transit and at rest as it travels back and forth between my MacBook and the data center.

If the power goes out, then I continue to work on my battery-powered laptop with my battery-powered mobile hotspot for Internet access and my battery-powered iPhone for voice communications. The data center remains unaffected wherever it is – all I know is that my data center is in the US because that was a choice when setting up my #Office365 account. My Quickbooks financial data is also in the US. My website resides in the US. I could go on and on to list all of my online services, but these services perform reliably and in unison without noisy, dirty, expensive and risky equipment.

I’m no longer bound to the world of one business operating system. I can use any Internet-connected device whether Windows, Mac, iOs or Android. If a device fails, becomes lost or is stolen, then it’s as easy as replacing the device and logging back in with my passwords. Done.

> Scott Abbotts > Resolute IT > > (727) 203-6959 mobile > Cloud and Managed Services > HelpDesk > Onsite Remediation > Consulting > Certified > Experienced > Punctual > Quiet

No, it’s not “the nine dots”. No, it’s not the “waffle”. It’s the App Launcher. Or more precisely – it’s the App Launcher icon – the App Launcher is the actual menu that appears when clicking on the icon.

If you’ve never seen this icon before, then you’ve most likely never logged into the Office 365 portal or used one of the online versions of Office.

Yes, you can call it anything you like. But if you want to best communicate about accessing the navigational menu Office 365, then it’s the App Launcher.

It’s complicated. Office 365 offers various options and overlap when it comes to:

  1. collaboration (Yammer, Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, Planner, Forms, Skype)
  2. file storage (SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer, Delve, Teams)
  3. communication (Skype, Teams, Exchange/Outlook, Sway, Video, Stream)
  4. personal productivity (Office suite, Exchange/Outlook, Teams)
  5. business apps (Power BI embedded in Teams, Power Apps, Flow, Dynamics 365, StaffHub)

Best use scenario (prejudiced toward Teams):

You start your day at your desk. Instead of opening your email in Outlook the first thing (that can wait), you go to the Teams Activity area where the information is fresh and vital. You notice a colleague has shared a document with your group that she created over the weekend. Because it was shared with the group, only those group or team members can access this file. But the file didn’t really reside in Teams – it’s actually been stored in your colleague’s OneDrive because she wasn’t ready to present this file for public viewing yet – she wanted to conduct peer review first. But now that she has shared the file with the group, the file becomes part of a SharePoint library specific to that group and its members only.

As you’re reviewing this document opened right within the Teams desktop application, the author of the document sends a private chat message to you that pops up in a panel alongside the document. To discuss this further, you each agree to open an ad hoc meeting by clicking on the videocam icon below the chat box. After a brief discussion and co-authoring of the document, you approve the author’s document and encourage her to publish the document to a primary SharePoint library for companywide viewing.

You’ve ended the ad hoc meeting with your co-worker, but another call arrives right within Teams. It’s the boss. Your paycheck is ready.

It’s almost . You’ve now had a chance to comb through your emails and there’s a scheduled meeting that will begin in a few minutes. Teams still open and, while an Outlook calendar notification popped up, you’d already noticed the meeting while in Teams earlier – your Outlook calendar synchronizes with the Teams Meeting schedule.

After joining the Meeting, your team members all appear within video blocks on the screen. One of the members will present his work by sharing his desktop to the group. It’s a bad hair day, so you’ve opted not to turn your video on, as well as you keep yourself muted because the dog is barking. You chat with a few co-workers while the presentation completes and discuss what’s for lunch.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to go home! Oh, wait – I am home.