Traditionally, an IT company would service a specific geographic area, usually within an hour’s drive of the home base. But as our industry has evolved, so has our reach in regard to whom we would service and where.

With third-party vendors such as WorkMarket, we can dispatch an onsite engineer with the appropriate skills, knowledge, tools, and experience to your location within the same time frame that any local IT firm would.

But even the local IT firm uses remote tools to better service your end-users and their machines. I hear most IT firm owners boast that 95% of their work is performed by remote control or other remote means.

In consideration of these two factors — onsite engineers on-demand; and remote helpdesk (or network operations center) — we can confidently claim that we’re a 100% remote provider. Our only geographic boundary is the United States.

Both our fully-managed Optimum 365 and limited HelpDesk 365 services are available on a national basis.

 

“On August 17, 1908, the new Bank of Italy (now Bank of America) Headquarters at 552 Montgomery Street (San Francisco) was opened to the public. Here, on the first floor in an open area, A.P. Giannini had his office where all comers were invited to stop and chat about not only financial but family matters as well.” – US Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places.

In this same spirit, I kept my desk near the door when I had an office on Cape Cod. I can’t tell you how rewarding it was to have a steady stream of people dropping in to sit down and chat with me.

And now that I work solely as a remote consultant, I am opening a client-facing portal on an always-open basis in Microsoft Teams.

As Microsoft announced the free offering of Microsoft Teams yesterday, I feel that people are now unencumbered for the lack of this tool – Teams is free to download for desktop and mobile, and very simple to create an account in a matter of seconds.

To become a member of the Resolute IT Client Portal, sign up here.

A recent study predicts that 42% of the global workforce will be mobile by 2020. I wonder if we aren’t already there.. Another finding says that the number will be 75% by 2025.

Who really wants to get up, get ready, and walk into an office by 9am or earlier? We can easily attend a 10am office meeting using Microsoft Teams, so we can remain at home or in a coffee shop using a laptop, tablet or even a phone to share our presence, our Office documents, and our enthusiasm with colleagues. And of course, we don’t even have to be in the same country as the other attendees. 

While in the meeting, we can easily share the document that we’d been creating over the weekend. Teams allows you to present your original document for others to view within the Teams interface and co-author or co-edit it there. While collaborating on this document, team members can exchange chat messages alongside the open document. Or better yet, collaborating members can start an impromptu video meeting, while other members of the team can join the meeting and participate by co-authoring the document. You can even record the meeting for later review.

So the future is here. Where you are is irrelevant. But how you’re able to interact is key.

In its July 2018 roundup   of Microsoft Teams news, they announced a new feature that I dismissed at first. “Visio in Teams”, I thought. “So what – it’s just read-only with Visio Online.” But this is *not* Visio Online. Or is it?

At the bottom of this article it says, “Viewing diagrams within Teams is free for most Office 365 customers  , but editing is only available for those with a Visio Online Plan 1 or Plan 2 subscription.”

I’ve searched through the articles for ‘co-authoring’, but all it says is “Team members can work together on diagrams through in-app conversations to provide feedback in real time.” But can we edit the same diagram with another member in real time? One article compares the new editing feature to other Office co-authoring capabilities within Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. “We’ve extended these editing capabilities to Visio files, enabling you to make simple changes to your diagrams without leaving the Teams app.

So does this mean we can also co-author as we would in Word? I think not. Oh, but wait…

On one page of Microsoft’s website it says, “Real-time co-authoring – Not available in Visio Online. Advanced reviewer features, such as merge conflicts and compare diagrams, are only available in the Visio desktop application. With Visio Online, you can view, add, or delete comments.”

But on the features page for Visio Online 2 (not Visio Online 1) it says, “Complete diagrams faster with multiple people working on the same diagram at the same time.”

And in order for members to see any changes, they have to refresh the diagram in Teams.

In order to perform with full functionality, we are advised to use the desktop version of Visio. For ‘almost desktop’ functionality, we can subscribe to Visio Online 2.

Update 07/07/2018: Direct from Microsoft: “At this point in time Visio Online does not support co-authoring inside Teams, irrespective of the license. But this is part of our roadmap and we are working to enable this in future.”

In the May 2018 results at the security lab of AV Comparatives , Microsoft Windows Defender Antivirus performed very well. Often seen as a mediocre solution over the years, Microsoft’s solution is stepping to the plate.

But it isn’t just one solution. Microsoft’s answer has to be seen as a holistic approach as it integrates with Office 365 and its other defense layers as the company depicts here:

Physical security

  • 24-hour monitoring of datacenters.
  • Multi-factor authentication, including biometric scanning for datacenter access.
  • Internal datacenter network is segregated from the external network.
  • Role separation renders location of specific customer data unintelligible to the personnel that have physical access.
  • Faulty drives and hardware are demagnetized and destroyed.

Logical security

  • Lockbox processes  for a strictly supervised escalation process greatly limit human access to your data. Learn how to activate Lockbox .
  • Servers run only processes that are whitelisted, minimizing risk from malicious code.
  • Dedicated threat management teams proactively anticipate, prevent, and mitigate malicious access.
  • Port scanning, perimeter vulnerability scanning, and intrusion detection prevent or detect any malicious access.

Data security

  • Encryption at rest protects your data on our servers.
  • Encryption in transit with SSL/TLS protects your data when it’s transmitted between you and Microsoft.
  • Threat management , security monitoring, and file/data integrity prevent or detect any tampering of data.
  • Exchange Online Protection  provides advanced security and reliability against spam and malware to help protect your information and access to email.

User controls

  • Office 365 Message Encryption  allows users to send encrypted email to anyone, whatever email service recipients may use.
  • Data loss prevention can be combined with Rights Management and Office 365 Message Encryption to give greater controls to your admins to apply appropriate policies to protect sensitive data.
  • S/MIME provides message security with certificate-based email access.
  • Azure Rights Management  prevents file-level access without the right user credentials.

Admin controls

Tab panel for expanded tab number5

  • Multi-factor authentication protects access to the service with a second factor such as phone.
  • Data loss prevention prevents sensitive data from leaking either inside or outside the organization while providing user education and empowerment.
  • Built-in mobile device management capabilities allow you to manage access to corporate data.
  • Mobile application management within Office mobile apps powered by Intune provides granular controls to secure data contained in these apps.
  • Built in antivirus and antispam protection along with advanced threat protection safeguard against external threats.
  • Office 365 Cloud App Security provides enhanced visibility and control into your Office 365 environment.

 

The last article that I wrote was about the Microsoft Office 365 terminology change from “Preservation” to “Retention” in regard to how your data is held – or not – within Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive.

But when you want to hold your Microsoft Teams data with a retention policy, that policy must be exclusive to Teams – no other service can be part of that policy.

Teams holds its chats, conversations and emails forever by default, but your company might have another inclination to delete data, save it for 7-10 years, or both for whatever reason. Policies can be created and applied in a granular fashion.

Microsoft unveiled its new Teams Retention policies at the end of March 2018 and rolled them out to tenants over the month of April. This is evidently part of the move to bring Skype functionality into the Teams fold.

The next step on the roadmap for Teams data management is eDiscovery.

Scott Abbotts | https://resolute-it.com | https://office365techguy.com

 

What used to be called a Preservation Policy is now called a Retention Policy. That said, you might still see a folder in your OneDrive’s storage metrics* that’s called Preservation Hold Library, although the folder isn’t visible unless you’ve actually edited or deleted items that are affected under such a policy.

Your ‘permanently deleted’ mailbox items are held in the Recoverable Items folder, which is accessible from the Outlook Web App (OWA). Right-click on the Deleted Items folder and choose “Recover deleted items…” These are items that you’ve removed from the Deleted Items folder and will remain in the Recoverable Items folder for 14 days unless otherwise configured to 30 days by your system administrator OR unless there’s a Retention Policy in place that prevents anything from getting really, actually, truly, permanently deleted.

A caveat here: Retention policies applied to mailboxes require Office 365 Enterprise E3 or E5. This is because Exchange Online Plan 2 must be in place for mailbox retention. So if you have Office 365 Business Premium with its lesser Exchange Online Plan 1, then you can set a Retention Policy that covers your documents stored in SharePoint or OneDrive, but not on mail, calendar or contact items. Actually, you might be able to create such a policy that would seem to cover your Exchange items, but this data governance would not take effect until a qualified license would be put in place.

About Teams from Microsoft:

* To see your OneDrive metrics, go to portal.office.com, login, and then launch the OneDrive web app. In the upper right, click on the gear icon and choose Site Settings. On the Site Settings page under Site Collection Administration, choose Storage Metrics.

Scott Abbotts | https://resolute-it.com | https://office365techguy.com