On Monday, Azure AD suffered a rather unfortunate outage

Sure – it happens, although it seems it probably could have been avoided. Azure AD suffered an outage this week, which although only affected some people for a short amount of time, the overall duration was 14 hours. During this time, if you were logged in, then you would mostly have seen little or few issues. As Paul mentions on the show, rebooting a device would break access; along with all net-new logins.

Azure AD doesn’t just support Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365, it is also one of the leading SSO solutions and for a growing number of organizations, replaces the need for a local Active Directory. An outage like this impacts people in a much wider way. And as we discuss, even though it was out of “office” hours for the UK, services like Teams are used through the night by healthcare services and many more people – and for north America, the outage was during the 9-5 working day.

Adding another service like Okta, or moving to AD FS won’t buy you more resilience for Microsoft 365 – it will just add another point of failure. As we discuss with Brian Desmond later in the show, Azure AD has lots of benefits that outweigh the occasional failure. That’s not to say we will be happy to see another one, soon.

Read Tony Redmond’s take earlier in the week.

UserVoice is going – but why isn’t something better going to replace it?

Microsoft have seen success with UserVoice as a way to interact with customers in a meaningful way that allows them to build their products, knowing that it reflects the priorities and needs of us, their customers.

Sadly, Microsoft have decided that they will move away from UserVoice and replace it with in-house tools already in use. It is fair to say that these are not replacements for UserVoice. Unfortunately, corporate edicts like this are so endemic that there’s even a Wikipedia page on “not invented here syndrome”.

UserVoice as a platform for Microsoft to use has been a success and by using a third-party platform they allow themselves to focus on their products (and not the product to hear about user’s views on products), so unless they have an oven-ready replacement perhaps they should have held back on this decision. Owning GitHub, and having the successful Tech Community forums offers at least two new homes for Microsoft to build a better replacement.

Read more about Microsoft moving away from UserVoice

Catch Paul Robichaux’s panel on HAFNIUM

Paul discussed the panel he hosted earlier in the week, where he was joined by many readers and listeners – and Jeff Guillet, Michael Van Horenbeeck and Bryan Patton. In this live session they had a deep-dive and live Q&A about recovering from and dealing with the recent Exchange issues.

You can watch the panel session on-demand here or read Paul’s recap blog post here.

You might not have got what you hoped for when you started the Hybrid Configuration Wizard

It could be worse right? Your CIO could have demanded you migrated to Google Workplace, to try and make IT “look trendy” to the younger employees, because Google Is Company That Sounds Cool. And of course, you’ll know that in a few years, when the CIO is replaced, you’ll only have to move to Microsoft 365 and it will be a ton more complex.

However if last week began with an edict to move to Exchange Online now, a small number of people found that when they downloaded the Hybrid Configuration Wizard, they got a text file instead, placed there by someone that doesn’t work for Microsoft. Not good.

We chat about this, and point out that whilst this doesn’t look great, and Microsoft will no-doubt learn from this, we don’t think Microsoft is complacent about security – in the last few years they’ve became an industry leader. So, perhaps we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt this time and put it down to an unlucky few weeks. Because the alternative – on-premises, or another suite, is a worse proposition.

Microsoft Embarrassed as Exchange HCW is Replaced by a Text File

Viva Connections is on the way. To get started, deploy a Modern SharePoint Intranet and a successful Yammer network

At Ignite 2021 – Spring Edition, Microsoft announced Viva Connections would be arriving in March – this month. And it will indeed be March when it arrives on the 31st March.

In what is extremely good news, Microsoft have released detailed guidance on what you need to do to prepare, and it won’t automatically launch into your tenant either. You’ll need to download a file and build a package to deploy via Teams, customising it in the process.

We discuss that you do need some form of an Intranet, based on SharePoint, and Yammer to be able to make best use of Viva Connections. And although the technology is great- these are two technologies where you should do your best to get it right, as re-launching either at a later date is difficult.

Add Viva Connections for Microsoft Teams desktop

Brian Desmond joins us to talk about Azure AD Premium

Brian Desmond – Principal at Ravenswood Technology Group and 15-time Microsoft MVP for Identity and Access Management – who literally wrote the book on Active Directory, joins us to talk about Azure Active Directory, and which features you should switch on if you *don’t* have Premium, and what the most valuable and useful features are with Azure AD Premium Plan 1 and 2. You can listen to the interview on the show, or watch the segment on the Practical 365 YouTube Channel.

Sign up for Brian’s TEC Talk – Seven Azure AD Premium Features Worth Paying For

Top features in the Roadmap coming soon

Finally on the show, we chat about several new features in the roadmap coming soon, which we really like.

  • Teams gets slideshow translation features in-meeting, so attendees can see slides in their own language in PowerPoint Live – Coming this Month
  • Spotlight multiple users at the same time in a meeting – coming April
  • Switch on low data mode when you don’t have a strong 4G / 5G signal on mobile – coming March and appears to be here, now
  • Policy package assignment is finally rolling out
  • Find your legacy IE and Edge browsers using the new Browser Usage report in the Microsoft 365 admin center – arriving March and already seen in tenants.
  • And in April, the ability to migrate Exchange DLP policies to the Security and Compliance Center will launch

About the Author

Steve Goodman

Technology Writer and Chief Editor for AV Content at Practical 365, focused on Microsoft 365. A 12-time Microsoft MVP, author of several technology books and regular Microsoft conference speaker. Steve works at Advania in the UK as Field Chief Technology Officer, advising business and IT on the best way to get the most from Microsoft Cloud technology.

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