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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.
Mark Rackley

Impactful Changes to Office 365 – SharePoint Sandbox Solutions [Time Sensitive]

Impactful Changes to Office 365 – SharePoint Sandbox Solutions [Time Sensitive]

Microsoft has recently made a significant change to the way they are handling SharePoint Sandbox Solutions in Office 365. This may have a major impact or your organization as these changes roll out across tenants.

If you have uploaded any Sandbox Solutions to your Office 365 tenant in the past week or so, you may have found that you are no longer able to activate these templates. That is because Microsoft is in the process of disabling the activation of any Sandbox Solutions that contain code. In addition, according to an article in Reddit - Microsoft has disabled activation of Sandboxed code solutions AND will disable all active solutions in 30 days on SharePoint Online.

Now, I’m skeptical of the statement that all Sandbox Solutions with code will be disabled in 30 days, as this will unlikely cause catastrophic consequences for some folks, but I don’t have any further information at this time.

What do disabled SharePoint Sandbox Solutions mean to me?

There are a few implications here. If you have any code-based Sandbox Solutions running in your environment in Office 365 you may start to see broken web-parts, pages, event receivers, or broken other functionality/errors in the next month or so. The implications could be as small as a missing web part on a page to a broken site collection. It really depends on what code has been deployed to your tenant.

In addition, if you’ve previously created any Site Templates that were created from sites that had activated code-based Sandbox Solutions, you will NOT be able to create sites from these templates after the solution has been disabled.

How can I tell if I have any SharePoint Sandbox Solutions?

You can go to your Solutions Gallery to see if you have any Sandbox Solutions deployed. You can get to the Solutions Gallery by going to the Site Settings of your Site Collection, then clicking on the “Solutions” link under the “Web Designer Galleries” section.

sandbox Solutions

Please note, this is also where things like Site Templates are stored, so don’t freak out of you see some solutions deployed and don’t know what they are. Hopefully they were named well as there are little details displayed from the Solutions Gallery itself.

Why weren’t we warned sooner?

Microsoft actually DID warn everyone back in January 2014 - one instance of this is on the SharePoint dev blog in an article titled Deprecation of Custom Code in Sandboxed Solutions. Plus we’ve been telling clients since then to stop doing code-based Sandbox Solutions.

Yet, it is a little surprising they would make sure a hard cut off of 30 days though. If I can get some confirmation I’ll be sure to update the post.

What do I do if this affects my company?

Excellent question. First of all, if you have any Site Templates that utilize code-based Sandbox Solutions, re-create those Site Templates with your code-based Sandbox Solutions disabled. I would do this immediately - if not sooner. Once a solution has been deactivated there is no way to create a site with a Site Template dependent on that feature.

Secondly, if you have any code-based Sandbox Solutions, evaluate their functionality and determine what will stop working. Some of the functionality (visual web parts) can be recreated with scripting, while other functionality (event receivers) may cause you a lot more heartburn to replicate without a Sandbox Solution.

You can also reach out to us at Interlink and we could help point you in the right direction for what to do in your particular scenario. It is important you do SOMETHING though. Interlink can assess your current environment, help point out possible pain points, and guide you through the re-creation of code-based Sandbox Solutions into a supported format.

Should I panic?

Hopefully, no, but honestly, if code-based Sandbox Solutions are forcibly disabled in 30 days you should be concerned if there is any chance you have them in your environment.

[Update as of 8/3/2016: Microsoft released a script that lets you check for sandbox solutions]

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Sarah Bunt

ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: Everything You Need to Know About Office 365 E5

ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: Everything You Need to Know About Office 365 E5

On-Demand Webinar & Slides

view webinar slides o365 blue


Microsoft’s new E5 bundle has a ton of functionality, but is it right for your business?

With several Office 365 plans to choose from, figuring out which Office 365 plan is right for your business can be confusing.

In this on-demand event, Microsoft and Microsoft Cloud Consumption Partner of the Year, Interlink Cloud Advisors will help you understand all of your options around Office 365 – including renewal. Through a series of demos and a Q&A session, Interlink will show you everything you need to know about the new Office 365 and how (and if) your business can benefit from it.

view office 365 e5 webinar

What You'll Learn About:

  • Voice in the Cloud: Roadmap and Overview
  • Reduce Legal Expenses: Advanced eDiscovery
  • Enhanced Knowledge: Business Intelligence
  • Reduce Risk: Better control your cloud data
  • Improved Protection: Reduce Ransomware and malware
  • Data Security: Control access to your data
  • New E5 Licensing: Your options and new bundles

Live Demos Include: 

Skype Voice Console, Advanced eDiscovery, Delve Analytics, and Power BI!

 

Both existing Office 365 and new 365 clients will benefit from this recorded event.


Hosted By:

Matt Scherocman

Matt Scherocman
President, Interlink Cloud Advisors

Microsoft certified expert in cloud and licensing technologies. Matt uses his 20 years of experience to guide customers on their cloud journey.


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Sarah Bunt

Microsoft Office 365 Planner: Teamwork Organized

Microsoft Office 365 Planner: Teamwork Organized

Bring together teams and tasks and get more done with Planner in Office 365 

You and your teams always have projects that you need to get done and management always seems to be adding more “to do” tasks. With the Outlook tasks feature you can’t be as collaborative as you need, and your projects often don’t require the sophistication of Microsoft Project. Microsoft has developed the perfect in between solution for those who have an Office 365 subscription – Microsoft Planner. 

Office 365 Planner is now being rolled out to all eligible users in Office 365! Planner makes working together a lot more organized and fun. It helps users organize and structure their teamwork. Teams can create new plans, organize and assign tasks, set due dates and update status in just a few easy clicks. With Planner, users can attach files and have conversations around tasks. Planner’s visual dashboards and email notifications keep everyone informed on the overall progress of their initiative.

  • Get started quickly
  • Work together without chaos
  • Always stay informed

Pain Point #1 – Coordinating Tasks:

Today, the majority of information workers coordinate their team activities and team tasks using sub-optimal tools and methods such as email, post-it notes, Office Apps like Excel and PowerPoint, or by memory!

The Solution:

Microsoft Planner is simple and easy to use.

  • Engaging User Interface helps users create a plan, build a team, and assign tasks and set due dates in just a few simple clicks
  • Users can find benefit the very first time using it

 Pain Point #2 - Communicating:  

To get work done, team members share files, communicate back and forth via emails, engage in IM conversations, etc. As the number of tasks continue to grow, teamwork becomes harder to organize. Key insights and conversations related to tasks get locked away in disjointed apps, email attachments, etc.

The Solution:

Microsoft Planner is transparent and allows team members to work together without switching apps

  • Everyone has a clear sight into who is working on what
  • Users can attach files to tasks in a couple of clicks and start editing them together
  • Team members can initiate a group conversation thread right from the task

Pain Point #3– Big Picture View:

As the number of tasks and size of the team starts to grow, team members lose track of the big picture.

The Solution:

Microsoft Planner is mobile and provides insights

  • With Planner ‘Charts’, everyone knows where things are at all times
  • Email notifications alert team members when things change, new tasks are assigned to them, or they get pulled into conversation

 

mytasks Office 365 Planner 

Want a free demo?  CONTACT US TODAY


Q & A

Q. Which Office 365 plans are eligible for Planner?

A. Planner is included in the Office 365 Enterprise E1–E5 subscription plans (including corresponding Government and Non-Profit), Office 365 Business Essentials and Premium plans, and Office 365 Education.

 

Q. Is Planner available for customers on premise?

A. Microsoft Planner is an Office 365 cloud only solution and not available for customers on premises.

 

Q. Can Planner be purchased stand-alone?

A. Microsoft Planner is only be available through Office 365 Subscriptions, and cannot be purchased stand-alone.

 

Have additional questions -  CONTACT US TODAY

 

 

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Matt Scherocman

The Struggle is Real: How to Deal with the Growth and Sophistication of Cybercrime with Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics

The Struggle is Real: How to Deal with the Growth and Sophistication of Cybercrime with Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics

As business changes and technology evolves, the majority of organizations depend on IT systems to store their data and run critical workflows. Unfortunately, these systems can be a prime target for cyber-attacks as sophisticated hackers put the enterprise in a vulnerable position. Just take note of these especially stunning stats:

  • 76% of attacks stem from compromised user credentials
  • The average cost of a data breach to a company is $3.5 million and total cost of cybercrime on a global scale is as high as $500 billion
  • Because of dangerous IT security blind spots (shown in the image below), it could take over 200 days to detect an attack

    IT blind spots Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics

Stats courtesy of Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics Datasheet.

The reality is, businesses need to pay attention and adapt to this changing nature of data security threats.

Now available in the Enterprise Mobility Suite, Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA) helps to protect your company from attacks by leveraging machine learning. It uses behavioral analytics to uncover suspicious behavior, internally or from external attacks. It also detects known security issues and risks , the goal is to stay  one (or two, or three) steps ahead of the attackers.

Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics

When you think of security software, your mind might immediately turn to configuring system rules and alerting. All of which take time and commitment from your team. With ATA, you don’t need to create rules, baselines, or thresholds. It’s streamlined from setup and works immediately. Once a threat is detected, it’s also easy to view a timeline of when the attack hit. It can help pinpoint where the breach took place. All of this insight can better prepare you for future attacks.

The thought of being hacked and not even knowing it is scary enough, but ATA also helps identify internal threats like why a user would be accessing files in accounting if they’re in the marketing department? Combined with online security reports, ATA can show anomalies for logins.  It will help detect when user credentials have been compromised by reporting geographically distant logins that occur at the time time – like a single user being logged in from Ohio and from Romania at the same time.  

The high-level benefits of using ATA at your business are obvious. Peace of mind goes a long way, and you also want it to help you adapt as cyber-attacks grow in frequency and sophistication. The features of ATA are even more appealing when you see exactly how it works for your business. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Timeline: We’ve already mentioned that timeline, but it’s worth noting again. In addition to listing the activities as they occur, ATA provides recommendations on how to handle that alert.
  • Organizational Security Graph: This maps out entity interactions which represents the context and activities of the users, devices, and resources. This will be a big driver in managing security for each of your users.
  • Email Alerts: There’s no need for one person to be continuously monitoring for cyber-attacks. With ATA, you can have emails sent to users or groups when suspicious activity is detected.
  • Leveraging the Cloud:  Microsoft cloud based correlation engine helps more quickly identify new attacks and reduce the amount of false positives. 

The cyber-attack threat is real and ATA can help you adapt to the changing cyber-attack world we live in.

Contact Interlink if you any questions.

 

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Matt Scherocman

Important Notice About Certificate Expiration for Exchange 2013 Hybrid Customers

Attention customers running Exchange in hybrid mode

Microsoft is making a change on April 15th that will possibly break mail flow from your on-premises environment to the Office 365 platform.  

This will have no impact on you if you are not running Exchange in hybrid mode. Please see the full details below on who will be affected. 

Our team is standing by to assist you with this change if needed to ensure mail flow is not interrupted.  


If you’re running Exchange 2013 and you’ve configured a hybrid deployment with Office 365, this post contains important information that might impact you. Please evaluate this information and take any necessary action before April 15, 2016. 

On April 15, 2016, the Office 365 TLS certificate will be renewed. This certificate is used by Office 365 to provide TLS encryption between Office 365 and external SMTP servers. The new certificate, which will help improve the security of mail sent to and from Office 365, will be issued by a new Certificate Authority and it will have a new Issuer and Subject.

This change has the potential to stop hybrid mailflow between Office 365 and your on-premises Exchange servers if one of the following conditions applies to you:

  • Your on-premises Exchange servers are running Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update 8 (CU8) or lower.
  • You’ve upgraded the Exchange 2013 servers that handle hybrid mailflow to Exchange 2013 CU9 or higher. However, since upgrading to CU9, you HAVE NOT re-run the Hybrid Configuration wizard (either from the Exchange Admin Center or via the direct download link).

If one of the previous conditions applies to your organization, hybrid mailflow between Office 365 and your organization will stop working after April 15, 2016 unless you complete the steps below.

Note: This only affects hybrid mailflow. Regular mailflow and TLS encryption is NOT affected.

How to keep hybrid mail flowing (MUST be completed before 4/15/2016)

Let the new Hybrid Configuration wizard do it for you

You can use the latest Hybrid Configuration wizard (HCW) to configure your Exchange 2013 servers to work with the new TLS certificate. Just follow these steps:

  1. If the Exchange 2013 servers handling hybrid mailflow are running Exchange 2013 CU8 or lower, follow the instructions in Updates for Exchange 2013 to install the latest cumulative update on at least one server.
  2. After you install the latest cumulative update, download the new HCW application and run the wizard following the instructions here.

Note: For information on which releases of Exchange are supported with Office 365, see Hybrid deployment prerequisites.

Manual update

If you can’t upgrade Exchange 2013 to latest cumulative update right now (although we would like to remind you of our support policy), you can manually configure your servers to work with the new TLS certificate. On each Exchange 2013 server that’s used for hybrid mailflow, open the Exchange Management Shell, and run the following commands:

$rc=Get-ReceiveConnector |where {$_.TlsDomainCapabilities -like "**"}

Set-ReceiveConnector -Identity $rc.Identity -TlsDomainCapabilities "mail.protection.outlook.com:AcceptCloudServicesMail

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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.