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The new year has begun, and the pace of change in Office 365 has not slowed down at all. During January, Microsoft announced the general availability of StaffHub, an application designed for managing rosters and scheduling for staff workers. StaffHub is yet another application in Office 365 that leverages Groups, which has become one of the key pieces in the Office 365 service. Although StaffHub is primarily designed for “deskless workers”, I think the features are useful for any team that needs to manage a roster, such as an on-call roster for IT ops. You can read my walk through of StaffHub here.
Microsoft also updated the reminder in Message Center that beginning March 1st the Office 2013 version of Office 365 ProPlus will no longer be available for install via the Office 365 portal, nor will it receive any further updates or support. If you haven’t already begun updating your clients, check out my guide to a simple Office 365 deployment from a network share. Did you miss the Message Center post? If so, check out my Message Center email digest script, and never miss another one.
The move away from workload-specific compliance features to a more unified experience across Office 365 workloads continued, with Microsoft showing how a single DLP policy for Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business can be created from the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center. In his column over at Petri, Tony Redmond breaks down the DLP functionality and explains what’s new, what’s missing, and what’s still to come in this area.
In Exchange Online, a number of changes have been rolling out to customer tenants:
- The default mailbox storage quota for E3 and E5 users is increasing from 50GB to 100GB.
- A new “Undo send” feature is rolling out to OWA, providing a user-configurable option to delay sending of messages for up to 30 seconds so that the user can stop a message if they realize they’ve made an error. Hopefully this feature also comes to on-premises Exchange Server and we see a drastic reduction in the attempted use of Recall Message in Outlook.
- Send-As and Send-on-Behalf are now configurable for Office 365 Groups using the Exchange Admin Center (previously this could only be configured using PowerShell)
The roll out of Focused Inbox, the replacement for Clutter, has been stalled due to the need to update client software to support it. There’s no specific timeline provided for when this roll out will be completed, so I guess we can just say it will “sometime this year”.
For Microsoft Teams, per-user license controls have been added to allow admins to control who gets access to use Teams. Previously Teams could only be enabled or disabled at the organization level. Teams is going to be enabled by default for organizations and users when it reaches general availability, so now is the time to look at your org-level or per-user licensing. Teams is a useful tool, although still has many features to be added or improved, so it’s well worth your time to start looking at how best to deploy it in your own organization.
It’s the beginning of the end for Site Mailboxes, with the announcement of Site Mailbox functionality being removed from SharePoint Online in March and no more Site Mailboxes to be created after that time. For customers who are already using Site Mailboxes, a migration tool to Office 365 Groups will be available later this year.
In admin console news, the new Office 365 Admin Portal has become generally available after being in Preview since September 2015. The new Intune management console that is integrated in the Azure portal is also now available. Existing Intune customers will be migrated from the Silverlight-based console in the coming weeks (or months, depending on how you read it). Good timing, since Mozilla is removing Silverlight support from Firefox (which I use for accessing Office 365 admin portals) in March.