Office 365 for IT Pros, 3rd Edition is continually updated with new information, changes and corrections. The book team also welcomes our new sponsor, QUADROtech. The current eBook files are dated 1 September 2016. Customers who bought the book from ExchangeServerPro.com can download the updated files from their purchase history. Updates applied to the Amazon Kindle version are available through your Kindle library after they are approved by Amazon.
The pace of change in Office 365 is slowing down a little at the moment, or at least in terms of public announcements. This is normal for weeks leading up to Microsoft's Ignite conference, which this year is being held in late September. The various product teams tend to stockpile a few exciting new developments to announce during Ignite. That said, there's still interesting things going on in the world of Office 365.
August saw the release of the public preview of Office 365 Secure Score, a tool that analyzes your tenant security against a series of weighted criteria. An overall “score” is presented to you, with recommendations for changes that you can implement to increase your score over time. The idea isn't to try and get a perfect score – there's always a trade-off between security and usability – but having clear guidance about securing your Office 365 tenant is certainly valuable. Especially as the risks to businesses continue to grow, such as the emergence of Office 365-targeted phishing scams.
SharePoint Online received a boost thanks to an increase in the maximum size of a site collection from 1TB to 25TB (yes, that's 25 terabytes). That's the maximum capacity, calculated on a 1TB base + 0.5GB per user basis, but it's welcome news for customers pushing more data into Office 365 services like OneDrive for Business and Office 365 Video, which back onto SharePoint for storage.
The integration of Office 365 Groups with different services continues, with the announcement that every Group will now also get an associated SharePoint team site. Groups continue to evolve in useful ways, but there's also some sprawl issues creeping in. The 1:1 relationship between Groups and Planner plans is one example – creating a plan automatically creates a Group, so now that will mean a team site is also created. That's a lot of places for data to spread out in an tenant. For IT teams the need to closely watch these developments in Office 365 and create appropriate governance and controls around them for your organization won't go away any time soon.
In August we also saw a detailed analysis by Tony Redmond of the new Outlook for iOS and Android back end architecture that is rolling out beginning in September. The new infrastructure combines capabilities of Exchange Online with an Azure-based protocol translator to replace the intelligent inbox features that were previously provided by an AWS-hosted service. The move to a purely Microsoft-hosted solution resolves many of the security and data sovereignty concerns that customers expressed with the Outlook application first launched.
For the IT pro community, Microsoft continues to stumble forward with their move from a Yammer-based community to what was first called the Office 365 Network, and is already being re-branded to the Microsoft Tech Community, expanding to include Azure, Windows Server, and SQL Server communities. The notion of a technical community for IT pros to share information and collaborate on the challenges we face is nice, but the technical implementation of the new community has been far from smooth. Hopefully post-Ignite the community team will be able to resolve the major issues with usability and navigation that the new community platform currently has.
Speaking of Ignite, the session catalog is available and is packed with Office 365 content. I won't be there this year, so I'll be waiting for the replays to appear online.