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February is the shortest month of the year, and yet Microsoft has packed another big set of changes into Office 365. First out of the gate for February was the new Service Health Dashboard, providing some nice visual improvements as well as the opportunity to give feedback on the timeliness and accuracy of service alerts. More improvements are planned, including an Office 365 road map item to add email and text notifications to the Service Health Dashboard. Hopefully this will be available to all customers, unlike the Message Center email alerts which we recently learned are limited to tenants of +50 users, at least for now.
Speaking of the Office 365 Roadmap, it’s now been updated to a new design that presents information about feature development and deploying in a way that is easier to read and follow.
Outlook mobile turned 2 years old, and celebrated by releasing new add-ins for Evernote, Trello, and more. The add-ins provide useful functionality such as clipping emails into Evernote notebooks, or associating emails with Trello boards. The integration of third party apps with Office 365 is very often a security and governance concern for customers, so Microsoft also added policies to Intune to allow the add-ins to be controlled if necessary.
On the security front, Microsoft also made Office 365 Secure Score generally available, providing customers with a score-based analysis of the available security features in Office 365 that have been configured for a tenant. I’ve written about Secure Score here before, and also recently answered a reader question on whether Secure Score alerts you to intrusions or breaches. They’ve also released two new Preview programs, both due for general availability this quarter. Office 365 Threat Intelligence aims to help customers stay aware of cyber threats by using data collected from Microsoft’s datacenters and online services. Office 365 Advanced Data Governance is all about reducing risks by identifying sensitive data in your tenant that needs preserving or protecting, while also identifying redundant data that should be removed.
Microsoft Teams is about to move out of Preview and into general availability. Microsoft has issued another notification in the Message Center that Teams will be turned on by default for all tenants, which is their normal approach for new feature deployments. The capability to manage Teams on a per-user basis has been available for some time now, so if you don’t plan to use Teams and want to keep it turned off for now you’ll need to configure your users’ licenses to disable it. Which is a perfect opportunity to check out the new Azure AD group-based license management features that have also been released in Preview.
Office 365 Groups have had an adjustment to their behavior for emails sent to groups by members who are also subscribers for the group. The sender will no longer receive a copy of their own message, which came as a surprise to some users, but is a change designed to please the majority of customers.
Finally, from the More Ways to Create Office 365 Groups department, the roll out of Office 365 connected Yammer groups has begun. This applies to customers who have enforced Office 365 identity for their Yammer users, and who have only one Yammer network associated with their tenant. With this change, when a new Yammer group is created, an Office 365 Group is also created, including resources such as a SharePoint doc library, OneNote notebook, and Planner plan.
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Thanks Paul for the informative post of new Office 365 new features.
Thats awesome – thanks for collating the info.
Thanks for putting this together Paul.