In the same week that Mountain View, Calif.-based Google finally unveiled its new look Gmail, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft made a bid to steal Google’s thunder by unveiling a new set of security features for Outlook.com that will make it a lot more attractive for enterprise use. The fact that these features were unveiled just a day after the Gmail account is no surprise given that Microsoft had announced the upgrades at the beginning of April. It is funny though, and reflects an ongoing tit-for-tat development competition between their respective productivity apps that has been going on…well going on since the beginning. If Microsoft has a firm grasp on the productivity market with Office 365, Google is not giving up the race even if G Suite only has about a quarter the number of users that Microsoft has.
The Gmail upgrade was aimed at ensuring its continued relevancy in the enterprise with the introduction of a new interface as well as mail snoozing, nudging, confidential mode and the ability to add ‘self-destruct’ dates to specific emails.
Microsoft’s response is also aimed at security. The really big addition is the new email encryption feature that offers end-to-end email encryption between Outlook accounts. Recipients not using Outlook.com or Office 365 will receive a link to a trusted Office 365 webpage to either get a one-time passcode to read the message or re-authenticate with a trusted provider
The other notable feature is the ability to restrict email recipients from forwarding, or copying emails, you send from Outlook.com. Additionally, Microsoft Office documents that are attached to these emails are encrypted even after downloading, so if the recipient shares or forwards your attachment, the recipient of the forwarded email will not be able to open the attachment.
There are other features like advanced link checking in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, password protected linking and the addition of the File Restore feature from OneDrive for Business to your personal OneDrive account.
These announcements have focused on new, advanced protection capabilities for Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal subscribers and will be available in the second half of this year. For those who use the free Outlook, services like two-factor authentication and anomalous sign-in detection are still available.
Whether the decision by Microsoft to unveil these features the day after Gmail announced its upgrade was a coincidence or not is irrelevant. What is, though, is that users of both email services are getting a lot more security bang for their bucks and are likely to get a lot more by the end of the year.
Get SharePoint GDPR Compliant With Open Source Tool
With a new SharePoint edition on the way later this year, and the introduction of the GDPR regulation this month, it is no surprise to see a new open source tool for SharePoint land on GitHub.
The new tool — GDPR Activity Hub — is described as an open source starter kit for building a management portal for GDPR compliance that will enable SharePoint-focused enterprises to manage the overall planning and execution of activities, tasks, events and documentation related to GDPR. A free, open source tool for SharePoint, it helps admins build a GDPR management hub to comply with the EU's data privacy law.
In an explanatory note in GitHub the developers write, “The goal of this project is to give customers and partners something to start with and to play with in order to keep track of all the fundamental events, requests, tasks and activities required to be compliant with the GDPR.”
It adds that, for now at least, it targets Microsoft Office 365 and it is founded on Microsoft SharePoint Online. The main components of the solution are a SharePoint Online modern site, some custom developed SharePoint framework client-side web parts, a few sample workflows built using Workflow Manager for SharePoint Online, and a Power BI dashboard.
While the original project was uploaded last year, it has received a number of upgrades and tweaks as the May 25 deadline approaches. This is one for enterprises looking to keep their SharePoint deployment GDPR compliant.
FileCloud Adds GDPR Compliance
Austin, Texas-based FileCloud, which builds a cloud-agnostic enterprise file sharing and sync platform (EFSS), also upped its GDPR game over the week too to add compliance support for Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. It seems like an obvious thing to do right now. In fact, if companies that are working out of the cloud don’t provide compliance support for both these vendors, their chances of survival are poor, given the important of AWS and Azure to companies operating on the cloud.
With FileCloud running on AWS or Azure, enterprises can control and be aware of where the data is stored and processed. This control helps enterprises in their GDPR compliance efforts. With GDPR, enterprises have to know where their data is stored. FileCloud says the new compliance features will ensure that wherever it is stored, will be compliant with whatever data regime they are operating in. They are of where their data is stored and processed. Many SaaS vendors can’t guarantee where. FileCloud works on-premises or on the cloud. It is available for immediate download from our customer portal.
Alfresco Appoints New CEO
Meanwhile, San Mateo, Calif. and Maidenhead, UK, Alfresco Software, has announced that the former chief revenue officer, Bernadette Nixon, has been appointed chief executive officer. The announcement comes six weeks after former CEO Doug Dennerline announced he was leaving the company after it was bought by Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL). A statement from Alfresco reads, "After a thorough global search and unanimous endorsement, we are confident that Bernadette is the right person to build on Alfresco’s momentum. She is an experienced global leader and was instrumental in last year’s outstanding success. Her proven abilities to build great teams, satisfy customers and execute corporate initiatives make her the ideal leader to drive the future growth strategy for Alfresco, and I am pleased on behalf of the entire Board to welcome her to the CEO role."
Nixon joined Alfresco in 2016 and was tasked with building and managing Alfresco’s global sales and operations team. Before joining Alfresco, she served as President, customer experience solutions at SDL, and prior to that was the SVP and general manager of OpenText’s BPM business unit.
Doug Dennerline has since moved to Redwood City- Calif.-based BetterWorks. He was originally brought on board when Alfresco moved its headquarters to the U.S. as the company started considering an IPO.
IFTTT Raises $24m
Finally this week, San Francisco-based IFTTT, which offers developers a platform to easily write scripts that connect different apps to each other has raised $24 million in funding.
IFTTT (it stands for “if this, then that”), claims to have 14 million registered consumers and 75 million Applets since launch, and more than 5,000 active developers building services and more than 140,000 building Applets on the IFTTT Platform.
There are a number of noteworthy points here, including the fact that the funding round was led by Salesforce, with participation by Armonk, New York-based IBM, both of whom have been busy recently connecting their ecosystems of devices and services. In an enterprise tech world that is still very fragmented, the value of an integration platform like his can only rise.