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Office 365 News & Analysis

Google for Work Puts Security in the Hands of Employees

Microsoft may be making a lot of noise about additional security features in Office 365, but Google has been working away behind the scenes too, if perhaps in a less vocal way. Yesterday, it launched the Devices and Activity dashboard, which monitors Google accounts on enterprise devices.

The new dashboard provides IT administrators a way of monitoring who has been accessing what accounts, where and why, but adds an underlying current to the security discussion that's becoming increasingly important in enterprises: responsibility.

Office 365 Digs Deeper Into Lucrative Government Market

2014-24-November-Digging.jpgMicrosoft took a significant step forward late last week in overcoming security concerns related to cloud computing in government agencies. The step came in the form of an announcement that the watchdog body governing the Department of Health has given Office 365 the thumbs up to operate in the department.

Office 365 will be the first cloud based email and collaboration and communication product to obtain a FedRAMP authorization. The authorization could potentially open the doors to a rush of deployments across government services.

Microsoft Adds Office Dropbox Support for Android Devices

Microsoft is rounding off a busy month on the Office front with the release of Dropbox support for Android users.

According to an Office blog post, the updates will enable easier editing, access and sharing of Office files from an Android phone. It is also offers the ability to generate and share links to documents in One Drive and OneDrive for Business directly from inside the app itself.

Outage Outrage As Microsoft's Azure Stumbles

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Microsoft is trying to recover from a widespread outage that affected its Azure cloud platform across multiple regions. The company acknowledged that 11-hour issue, which started last night, affected customers with virtual machines in all regions other than the new Australian data center.

The unanswered question now: What's the long-term impact of the outage, which knocked many third-party sites offline and created problems with Microsoft's Office 365 suite?

Is Word for iPad Ready for Prime Time?

2014-20-November-Work-iPad.jpgConventional wisdom says that the average user uses only 10 percent of a software product, however each user tends to use a different 10 percent. To accommodate many different types of users, software packages incorporate a zillion features that require insane amounts of memory. On the PC with hundreds of GB of storage this is acceptable, but can it carry over to mobile devices like the iPad?

Microsoft Adds Video Service to Office 365

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Video and video management is no longer a missing link in Office 365. Microsoft is now offering Office 365 Video to its First Release customers. It will make it available to most Office 365 plans for enterprise early next year.

The development is no real surprise, given the growing enterprise customer base for Office 365 and the increasing importance of video as a means of information and data transmission.

SharePoint in the Clouds: Choosing Between Office 365 or Azure

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Every time I read about “the cloud” I want to drag out a red pencil and edit the sentence. Why? Because we should really be talking about “the clouds,” plural.

There are dozens of cloud hosting options for SharePoint, beyond Office 365. Amazon, Rackspace and Fpweb offer compelling alternatives to Microsoft’s public cloud for SharePoint online with a mix of capabilities.

Microsoft Tightens Yammer, Office 365 Integration

Isn’t it just great when vendors keep their promises?

That's just what Microsoft is doing with it's latest move towards deeper integration of Yammer and Office 365. Another step towards transforming Yammer to Microsoft’s social layer, it provides a single sign-on for Yammer and a feature allowing users to access Yammer with their Office 365 credentials. What's more, it will work in all the different applications that come with Office 365.

OpenText Targets Compliant Office 365 Cloud Shift #OTEW2014

ORLANDO, Fla. -- OpenText and Microsoft are friends. They're also competitors.

They are definitely friends when it comes to the relationship between Office 365 and OpenText's Content Server, the foundational repository and information governance layer for OpenText's Enterprise Content Management (ECM) suite. 

The friendship continued this week at Enterprise World 2014 here at the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort. The 8,200-employee Waterloo, Ontario, ECM provider announced the availability of OpenText Application Governance & Archiving (AGA) 10.7 for Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft SharePoint Services.

It's all about helping the transition into the cloud -- moving from on-premises instances of Microsoft SharePoint to Microsoft Office 365 in the cloud. Enterprises will also be able to maintain core information governance and compliance processes and integrate content from other enterprise applications such as SAP and Oracle EBS, according to OpenText officials.

Microsoft Wants to De-Clutter Your Inbox

An empty email inbox is apparently a new status symbol in the IT industry — and vendors are lining up to provide products designed to help you manage your mail.

Google has already introduced its Inbox, and now Microsoft is bringing Graph to inboxes to make them smarter.

While the concept of intelligent inboxes is a bit of a contradiction – think of all the trash they attract – Microsoft Graph promises to change that. It will teach inboxes what you want, what you don’t want and dump the rest in a hole called Clutter.

Bye-Bye Microsoft Lync, Here Comes Skype For Business

2014-11-12 skype for business.jpgWhen Microsoft paid $8.5 billion in cash for Skype in 2011, it left some scratching their heads where the product would fit in the Microsoft ecosystem. And while Microsoft has since integrated the software into a number of its products, we now have a better sense of its future. As of next year, the Lync name will disappear and be replaced by Skype for Business.

This is not just a rebranding exercise. It involves joining together the Lync infrastructure with Skype, which includes the ability to use on-premises servers, optional integration with external communications networks and the use of the Skype interface on top of Lync.

Microsoft Offers Office 365 Refunds to Some iPad Users

Microsoft is making good on its promise to be more responsive to users' needs ... just not all of them. 

Last week the company released a preview version of Office for Android tablets, along with Office for iPad upgrades and new iPhone apps. Even better, it made all of the options free. You no longer need an Office 365 subscription to edit documents on mobile devices and store them in the cloud (whether it’s OneDrive or Dropbox).

But what about iPad users who enthusiastically signed up before that announcement — and are already locked in to spending $7 a month for an Office 365 subscription?

Microsoft Delve is Nice, But are Other Options Better?

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Microsoft has finally announced the release of Delve, a project that had been hidden under the code name Oslo and about which little was known.

When it was unveiled at the SharePoint conference earlier this year, then later as part of Office 365, Microsoft described it as a new way of getting working done. With it, Microsoft said, workers could find any content they needed, anywhere

Exciting as the announcement was — at least for Microsoft users — it doesn’t really extend beyond the Microsoft environment. Yes, it can find a needle in the massive haystack of your enterprise content ... as long as that content is in Microsoft applications. 

Want Microsoft Office on Your Mobile Devices? It's Free

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Microsoft wants Office to be at your fingertips at all times, regardless of where you are or what device you use. As a result it has been working at a furious rate to build out Office and Office 365, especially for mobile. Since the Office for iPad release last March, though, one of the glaring gaps has been the lack of an Android mobile edition.

Today Microsoft bridges that gap with the release of a preview version of Office for Android tablets, along with Office for iPad upgrades and new iPhone apps.

Has Office 365 Brought Back Microsoft's Swagger?

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A few years ago I came to scary realization that I am now old enough to look back — and “reflect.”

I'm still not sure that with age comes wisdom, but I am sure that I can see repeating patterns. The new becomes old and all the old becomes new again. My kids’ music selection includes a smattering of re-makes that are Top 40 material today, just as the originals were when I was my kids’ age.

I’ve now witnessed clothing come in and out fashion multiple times (although I sincerely hope bell-bottoms do not return). And this may be just me, but it seems like every other movie that comes out is a re-make.

They say art imitates life. But I'll take that one step further and say technology imitates many of the patterns I have observed over time.

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