Interlink Cloud Blog

facebooktwitterlinkedin

Matt Scherocman

Clutter

What’s next for email? Automatic Prioritization

At last month’s Microsoft Exchange Conference, Microsoft offered a sneak peak of some of the projects they’re working on to improve email. In addition to improvements involving document collaboration. The highlights include a new program called “Clutter”, designed at helping users manage their email. Clutter is still in development at Microsoft and we’ll keep the blog up to date as we find out more.

Clutter

Clutter is a much anticipated program designed to help users manage their most dreaded communication tool – email. At its heart, it intends to remove as much unimportant mail, or clutter, from a user’s inbox as possible so that a user’s inbox can become their inbox again.

While this program is still under construction by Microsoft, we know it use will use the power of Office Graph to learn how “importantly” or “unimportantly” you treat email messages and will automatically sort “unimportant” emails into a folder marked “Clutter”. This is really cool stuff, especially if you receive hundreds of emails per day like me.

To learn more about it, check out the press release.

Screen shots of the program are below:

Without Clutter:

b2ap3_thumbnail_1.png

 

With Clutter:

b2ap3_thumbnail_2.png

Matt Scherocman

What is Microsoft's Service Level Agreement?

Microsoft offers a financially backed 99.9% service uptime guarantee for Office 365. "Uptime" is the amount of time a cloud-based service is available to the user and this translates to about 8 hours of downtime per year.

A full copy of their Service Level Agreement (SLA) can be found here.

While Microsoft offers an industry-leading guarantee for their service, they have actually exceeded their promise in the past fiscal year.  In Fiscal Year 2013 (June 2012-July 2013), Microsoft's actual worldwide uptime was an astounding 99.98%, 99.98%, 99.97%, 99.94% and 99.97% per quarter for the service.

Furthermore, Microsoft is committed to maintaining transparency and discloses quarterly uptime numbers (as well as a variety privacy and security information) on their Office 365 Trust Center website.

To Download Microsoft's SLA, please see: Microsoft Service Level Agreement (SLA)

To see the worldwide uptime visit the Office 365 Trust Center

Matt Scherocman

Can you have 15 Copies of Microsoft Office on a single subscription?

Yes, when you purchase one subscription of Microsoft Office 365, you receive the right to install 5,5,5 copies of Office on different devices for that single user. We have highlighted the following points that speak to this licensing fact:

From Microsoft Official Volume Licensing Documentation*:

Italics are ours for clarification or emphasis:

  1. Each user to whom you assign a User SL (Subscription License) may activate the software for local or remote use on up to five concurrent OSEs (Operating System Environments). (5 copies for Windows and / or Mac)
  2. Each user to whom you assign a User SL may also activate Microsoft Office Mobile software to create, edit, or save documents on up to five of their smartphones and five of their tablets

In our words:

Each user of Office subscription, E3, or E4 can run up to 15 copies of Office - up to 5 that are full function 2013 (PC or Mac) AND up to five on mobile phone AND up to five more copies on tablets (currently only iPad Office is available – Android tablet to follow at a time that is unclear). Additionally, any user who has access to the web applications (K1, E1, E3, E4 plans or a-la-carte) could access Office functionality via any modern web browser.

Need a quick comparison chart? http://www.interlink.com/component/easyblog/?view=entry&id=26

*To check out the details, please see the Microsoft Office Services Use Rights Document and lookup Office 365 ProPlus:

http://www.microsoftvolumelicensing.com/DocumentSearch.aspx?Mode=3&DocumentTypeId=31 

Matt Scherocman

Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) vs. Password Sync

There are a number of different ways to provide Single Sign-On (SSO) in a Microsoft Cloud environment. The two most popular ways are: Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) and Password Sync, which is part of the Azure Active Directory Connect  (DirSync) tool. Microsoft includes either technology within the Office 365 licensing. However, both tools require the proper Windows server licensing.

ADFS with federated login provides true Single Sign-On (SSO) with Office 365 whereas DirSync with Password Sync allows for Same Sign-On which implies users will be prompted for credentials when accessing Office 365 even in domain joined scenarios. ADFS also allows for better access control based on IPs, etc.

With DirSync with Password Synchronization, you enable your users to use the same password they are using to log-on to your on premise Active Directory to log-on to Windows Azure Active Directory. The users' accounts and passwords are authenticated by Office 365, but for SSO with ADFS, the credentials are authenticated by the on premise ADFS server.


Pros of ADFS

  • ADFS can be configured such that users who are already logged on to a domain joined and connected machine do not require any password re-entry to sign in at Office 365. This gives you true single sign-on since re-entry of the password is not required. With DirSync and password hash synchronization a user must still re-enter their password, although it will be the same password as they use on-premises.  This is especially important for SharePoint Online while users may need to go there dozens of times per day.
  • ADFS allows for client access filtering, which restricts access to Exchange Online to users based on their IP address. Customers frequently use this control to limit hourly workers to only checking mail while onsite. Find more details here: Can I Limit Access to Office 365 for Remote or Hourly Users?
  • ADFS will honor Active Directory configured login time restrictions for users.
  • ADFS can include web pages for users to change their passwords while they are outside the corporate network.
  • With ADFS the authentication decision is always made on-premises and no password hashes are synchronized to the cloud. This may be obvious but can be sometimes a security policy requirement.
  • With ADFS an administrator can immediate block a user to remove access where-as DirSync synchronizes these changes every three hours. Only password changes are synchronized by DirSync every two minutes.
  • ADFS permits use of on-premises deployed multi-factor authentication products. Note that Azure AD supports multi-factor authentication but many third party multi-factor authentication products require on-premises integration.
  • Where Microsoft Forefront Identity Manger (FIM) is required for some other FIM capability. FIM directory synchronization does not include password hash synchronization so ADFS will still be required for SSO login.
  • Some on-premises to cloud hybrid scenarios require ADFS such as hybrid search.

If you need any of these functionalities then Active Directory Federation Services is still the best option.

Cons of ADFS:

  • Additional infrastructure needed to deploy.
  • Added point of failure (even if multiple servers are deployed, this option brings in more dependencies for the setup to work).
  • Additional cost involved with this setup.
  • SSL certificate from a public CA is needed and needs to be renewed on a periodic basis (cost/administrative work involved).

Click here to read more from the: Password Hash Sync Article

 
Recent comment in this post
Guest — Ron
Great concise and to the point article. Exactly what I was looking for: Pro/con's and differences in each technology. Thank you Ma... Read More
Tuesday, 02 June 2015 6:06 PM
Aaron Seals

New Exchange Online Protection Features

Microsoft has improved upon and added some new enhancements to the EOP service:

  • Directory-based edge blocking
  • Office 365 domain limit increased
  • View message traces up to 90 days
  • Remote PowerShell
  • OWA Junk mail reporting
  • Spam quarantine access for users
  • DomainKeys Identified Mail support
  • Enhanced IPv6 support
  • Match subdomains feature
  • Geocentric affinity 

Click here to access the full Microsoft blog article

 

Highlights from the article:

Spam quarantine access for users

In previous versions of EOP quarantine access was only available at the administrator level.  Now individual mail users will be able to access their own quarantine to manage spam via the EAC web interface.  Users must have a valid Office 365 user ID and password in order to access the spam quarantine page.  For current Exchange online subscribers, users should already be able to access their spam quarantine with their current user ID and password.  EOP only subscribers can utilize Directory Synchronization and password sync to automate access for their end users.

Directory-based edge blocking

DBEB allows organizations to reject messages for invalid recipients at the network perimeter.  DBEB will block all messages sent to an email address that isn’t present in the Azure Active Directory.

View message traces up to 90 days

Admins can now request message trace information for up to 90 days.  Message traces for the past seven days can be viewed immediately.

Remote PowerShell

EOP customers now have the ability to use remote PowerShell to manage Exchange Online Protection settings and use PowerShell scripting to automate a variety of management tasks.

OWA Junk mail reporting

Easily report junk mail back to Microsoft EOP team.  Users can report a false negative or positive back to Microsoft by right-clicking within the mail message and selecting ‘mark as junk’ or ‘mark as not junk’.  This will help improve the spam filtering capabilities of Exchange Online Protection.

To understand how EOP works, click this link:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj723119(v=exchg.150).aspx

 

Welcome to the Interlink Cloud Blog

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations or warranties regarding the information from our partners or other external sources.

Blog Categories

Interlink Cloud
Interlink Cloud
5 post(s)
Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks
1 post(s)
Outlook
Outlook
2 post(s)
Reporting
Reporting
1 post(s)
Cloud Storage
Cloud Storage
1 post(s)
Webinars
Webinars
9 post(s)
OneDrive
OneDrive
5 post(s)
Yammer
Yammer
3 post(s)
Azure
Azure
11 post(s)
SharePoint
SharePoint
9 post(s)
Microsoft
Microsoft
5 post(s)
Lync
Lync
8 post(s)
Office 365
Office 365
47 post(s)

Blog Archive