Microsoft / Office 365 News
An old tool gets new clothes: The new Remote Connectivity Analyzer (aka. RCA)
The Remote Connectivity Analyzer (RCA) is now version 3.9.4, we saw some recent changes to the RCA like the brand-new main web page, the new selection UI and wizard icons. After the development was stopped for five years (last changes had been done in 2015), finally the RCA found a new home and Microsoft seems to invest in it. I guess more changes/improvements are about to come, let’s see.
The Office 365 Network Onboarding Tool get updates to provide information about VPN issues
The Office 365 network onboarding tool is aimed at giving a tool you can use on the client side to see the path clients use to get to Office 365 and detect issues, such as misconfigured internet breakout, DNS and compare latency and potential performance to other Office 365 users nearby. In addition, it has an advanced mode, which provides more detailed statistics, and in the latest update can detect issues, like if a user is connecting to Office 365 via a VPN tunnel, rather than a split tunnel. Access the Office 365 Network Onboarding tool here.
Exchange Team Blog: Securing Authenticated SMTP in Exchange Online
SMTP AUTH (also known as authenticated SMTP client submission) is a legacy internet protocol and does not support OAuth. Only legacy clients use this protocol for authentication, and as there were some known attacks to steal your usernames and passwords, it’s recommended not to use this protocol anymore. Microsoft already implemented a setting so you can turn off SMTP AUTH for your entire organization and a setting based on the mailbox.
Next will follow these changes:
SMTP Auth will be disabled by default for new Office 365 tenants
SMTP Auth will be disabled automatically for existing tenants that do not use the protocol
So, if you’re using SMTP AUTH in a hybrid environment, it’s best practice to use your on-premises servers for SMTP AUTH, and disable it for Exchange Online.
Not new, but I played a bit with the new Hybrid Configuration Wizard v17
In case you missed it: HCW v17 has arrived.
- HCW will no longer enable Federation Trust by default, only if you have Exchange 2010 in your environment
- Fixed some issues e.g., uninstalling the agent, or 8064 error – unable to configure OAuth
You see the new version when starting the HCW:
Once installed, you recognize two HCW instances in your Apps and Features page:
In my test I was able to run both wizards, v16 and v17 side by side, but I highly recommend to remove the old wizard from your system by uninstalling it.
You can download the newest version of the Hybrid Configuration Wizard here.
Office 365 groups will be renamed to Microsoft 365 groups
First called Modern Groups, then Office 365 groups, now Microsoft 365 groups.
Remember, M365 groups are the basis for every Microsoft Teams team or Planner and consist of the following:
- Shared Outlook inbox
- Shared Calendar
- SharePoint document library
- Power BI and more
Teams client will show up to 9 videos of participants at the same time
The famed 3 by 3 view is where Microsoft says they are “just getting started” and competes’ with Zoom’s gallery view, allowing you to see more meeting participants. This arrived in the Roadmap late last week and expected to hit tenants potentially within the next month.
Released to GA: Combined MFA and password reset registration
You can now register for Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and Self-Service Password Reset (SSPR) in a simple step-by-step process. Simplified mobile & web experience to register your mobile device.
Multi-Geo is available to more customers with expanded worldwide regions and a lower minimum number of users required
Multi-Geo allows you to locate users’ mailboxes or files in particular regions, and set up Office 365 Groups and SharePoint sites in particular regions for when you need data co-location. In addition to the existing regions, Switzerland has been added to the suitable goes.
New on the Roadmap / Message Center News
Lots of Teams roadmap items of interest this week, including:
- By default, Teams’ default meeting policy will land external users in the lobby
- This will prevent what’s known in Zoom as “Zoom Bombing” and make sure someone with the meeting URL cannot just join the meeting with being accepted. It’s already a feature – but wasn’t on by default.
- Expect this by the end of April
- Teams will respect the Outlook on the web mailbox policy to prevent users’ from uploading their own photo
- Expect this by the end of April – possibly useful for Education users – as this loophole is ripe to be used by those who are rapidly moving to Teams but couldn’t do this in OWA by policy today.
- Download a participant report after a meeting in Teams
- Again, potentially aimed at Education, this will allow the meeting organizer to download a report after the meeting including the join time and leaving time, while the meeting is still active.
- This won’t give extra information not available in the meeting itself, but will make collecting it afterwards easier.
- Expected this month!
- Changes to accessing meeting options
- This is aimed at making the user interface more friendly and intuitive when accessing meeting options while the meeting is in progress, so for example, if you want to change the lobby settings or who is by default an attendee for a meeting in progress, you’ll be able to do so within the meeting itself.
- Expect this month!
- Meeting changes to enforce policies on who can start the meeting
- If you organize a meeting and someone turns up early they can start the meeting before you arrive. With this latest change, you can configure policies to stop some people starting the meeting until a presenter or organizer joins.
- Again, like some of these changes, it looks aimed at Education customers who might not want students to join a class before it starts – and looks like it might be used in tandem with the previously announced “end meeting for all participants” feature
- Arrives before the end of the month!
- Mask dial-in phone numbers from external users
- Audio conferencing allows people to dial-in to meetings, and these phone numbers were shown to everyone in the meeting.
- In the latest change these will be hidden from external people joining from outside the organization.
- Not this month – arrives in May
- Outlook on the web gets “end events early”
- Outlook desktop has the option to schedule all meetings to end early – for example maybe you want your meetings to be 25 or 55 minutes instead of 30 minutes or a full hour, so you have time to prepare for the next meeting in-between.
- This is coming to OWA, making it easier for people using the web client to schedule meetings with that same “end early” option.
- Arriving in April
- Outlook on the web will default meetings to include Teams or Skype invites
- One I thought was already rolled out some years ago but disappeared, perhaps, is the ability for Outlook to make all meetings include an online-join link.
- This will be enabled by default, but users can disable it.
- Coming this month
- And Yammer’s new experience comes to SharePoint
- The new Yammer look and feel will arrive in SharePoint via an update to the web-part that can be embedded in SharePoint pages, giving the fluid look and feel to intranets and similar pages that include a Yammer feed.
- Scheduled to arrive in May
Steve is a Microsoft MVP for Office Servers and Services. He enjoys getting hands-on, solving some of the more complex problems associated with migrating to the cloud or to newer versions of Exchange Server.