SpireTech Blog - Tag: Office365
Microsoft Office 365 features, news, advice, and tips.
Microsoft has notified partners that they are implementing a new commerce experience starting January 2022. They had also announced in August 2021 that a change with pricing to certain subscription packages was coming in 2022. SpireTech has been tracking these changes as Microsoft has already adjusted some of their terms after announcement in August 2021.
At this time, we can share what we know and how that may affect your existing subscriptions and will keep you updated as we learn more.
What is changing that impacts our clients:
- You can still pay monthly for annual term licenses, but cannot reduce the quantity purchased during that term.
- Microsoft will now enforce subscription terms to all subscriptions
- Microsoft will implement premium pricing for month-to-month terms
- Microsoft is raising the rate on certain subscription options regardless of terms
- Microsoft will implement a pro-rated refund for the first 72 hours of term only
- To date, Microsoft has allowed Partners to provision subscriptions for clients and raise and lower subscriptions counts at their leisure.
Microsoft Teams continues to get better. Microsoft has introduced several new features:
- Together mode– puts everyone in the meeting in a virtual room together, instead of the usual “box for each person”. You can customize the setting for the room. We thought this was sort of cheesy, but we might try this feature again during our virtual Covid-era Christmas party.
- AI-based noise suppression – reduces unwanted background noise during meetings.
- Polls during meetings – to use this feature, you’ll need to add the Forms app as a Tab to your meeting. Learn how.
- Improved iOS functionality, including the ability to view shared content, speaker view, and Apple CarPlay support.
We have been rolling out Microsoft 365 Business voice to clients that are transitioning to a work-from-home, virtual workplace. It has been a resounding success so far – and clients are loving the flexibility and savings it has offered them.
Let us know if you are interested in transitioning your current phone system solution to M365 business voice!
Microsoft announced changes coming to their Stream video product to better integrate it with the rest of the M365 ecosystem. Currently, recordings are stored in Stream, which requires accessing a separate site to view recordings of teams meetings. The service will be revised starting in October to store Recordings in OneDrive or SharePoint. Here are the guidelines and timing we’ve been provided:
- Early October (October 5, 2020) – You can enable the Teams Meeting policy to have meeting recordings saved to OneDrive and SharePoint instead of Microsoft Stream (Classic). Requires use of powershell to enable this policy.
- End of October (October 31, 2020) – Meeting recordings in OneDrive and SharePoint will have support for English captions via the Teams transcription feature.
- Early to mid-November (Rolling out between November 1 -15 , 2020) – All new Teams meeting recordings will be saved to OneDrive and SharePoint .
Microsoft has issued guidance around the changes in behavior you will notice:
- Meeting storage:
- Non-Channel meetings will be stored in the OneDrive of the person who clicked the record button in a special folder labeled “Recordings” – that sits at the top of the recorder’s OneDrive.
Many of us are still working remotely, and a lot of our communication and meetings are occurring using Microsoft Teams. Here are some things we’re doing to try and stay better connected during this time:
- Add a tab to your team for a document or information you’d like to stay front and center. This could be some key performance indicators (KPI’s), goals, core values, or some other information you’d like your team to be reminded of.
- “Social hour” meetings. We hold informal get-together’s at 4:30 once every week or two. This enables us to bond and talk about non-business issues and catch up on major developments in each other’s personal lives.
- Lights, camera, action! At SpireTech, we ask our staff during scheduled meetings to have their cameras on. We don’t require it for quick 1:1 teams calls, but for scheduled meetings it is preferred. This really helps bring people together during an otherwise fairly isolated time and is a nice replacement while we’re lacking the ability to meet in a conference room.
It used to be that if you wanted to record a video of your screen, you had to buy some commercial software. Not anymore. Microsoft Stream (included in many M365 subscriptions) recently released a feature to allow you to record your screen, we have found this useful for training or marketing activities. You can optionally record yourself at the same time with a front-facing camera, if you want a view of the person speaking.
Videos are stored on Stream, and privacy settings can be controlled for each video before it is uploaded. Videos can be downloaded, and the format they are stored in is compatible with YouTube, so if you want to record something for later upload to YouTube you can do that as well.
Many things are changing in the world right now, and technology is no exception. As usual, we are spending a lot of time on R&D, training, and investigating new technology. Why do you care? Because we see certain technologies being key enablers for our clients moving forward. We’re already using most of these technologies (accelerated by WFH), and many clients are rethinking the way they want to work.
If you don’t know about these key enablers, you should, because they are disruptive technologies. We’ll give you a primer here, with the “why” for each.
|Azure AD||Enables security in a WFH, cloud-first workplace|
|Intune||Automatic software deployment, enforcement of company IT standards, mobile device security|
|Autopilot||Automatic setup and configuration of new computers, anywhere|
|SharePoint||File sharing without a server, simultaneous document editing|
|OneDrive||Easy access to SharePoint and backup of local documents|
|Teams||Team chat, meetings, calls, and collaboration|
|Microsoft 365 Business Voice||Potentially disruptive extension to teams calling and traditional business phone systems|
Many of these features are things you’re already paying for, and others present minimal additional cost. Read more...
In case you missed it last month, we’ve licensed specialized software that runs in Azure that optionally enables additional security for our clients using Office 365. The software works to automatically keep security tight, and alert on suspicious logins and emails. To learn more, please visit:
SpireTech Managed Services clients are now able to purchase a security essentials add-on for Microsoft 365 offered by SpireTech. This add-on, based on powershell and services running in Microsoft Azure, enables additional security features designed to continuously enhance your security on Microsoft 365. These features do not require additional Microsoft licensing to function.
Real time location monitoringWe monitor the login locations for every sign in, and alert on activities outside of expected regions.
External forward monitoringWe monitor automatic forwarding rules. A common tactic employed by hackers to exfiltrate data.
Mailbox auditingLogs actions taken by users in their and other’s mailboxes.
M365 License trackerGet notified every time a license is added or removed from your account, and receive a monthly report of all licenses, use, and assignments.
Email Spoofing ProtectionGet a warning when an external user attempts to impersonate any internal user, including managers.
Monthly Security ReportA detailed report of several key system and security aspects of your M365 tenant. A necessity for regulated industries, and great peace of mind for everyone else.