Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams

First look at the new Microsoft 365 Security & Compliance portals


Last September at Ignite, Microsoft revealed plans to introduce two new portals in Microsoft 365, one focused on Security and one on Compliance. The motivation behind this is based on a few reasons, such as: modernizing the currently available portals, bringing functionalities from Office 365, EMS, Windows 10 and even Azure together, and to create better division between security and compliance-related tasks. A bit like if you were to split the functionality of the Security and Compliance Center (SCC) to more specialized, persona-driven portals.

In recent weeks the new Centers have been released for public preview, and in this article, I’ll take them for a quick spin and share some initial impressions. Please note that these are early preview versions meaning they are subject to change without any notice. From my experience, with every new portal we’ve seen previewed over the past few years, we shouldn’t expect to get a complete release, having parity with the SCC. Instead, expect to see a lot of missing features, and a gradual rollout over the course of the next few months. You can also expect the occasional bug here and there whilst in the preview mode.

The new Compliance Center

To access the new compliance portal, or the Compliance Center as it’s officially recognised, head to the Office 365 Admin Center, expand the Admin center’s group on the bottom of the left navigation pane and click Compliance. Alternatively, you can also use the direct link:

Note: the preview is currently enabled only for tenants with Microsoft 365 subscriptions and might not be available to tenants with just Office 365 subscriptions.

The new portal has a fresh new design, which has adopted the same branding as the Microsoft 365 Admin center. The first thing that caught my eye in the new Compliance center was how compliance is in lowercase in the top left corner. Obviously, this is a very minor issue, but for whatever reason, my eyes were always drawn to it. Anyway, let’s focus on some more important features in the new portals.

The First-run Experience (FRE) section fills most of the initial screen and presents you with quick links to the documentation, suggested next steps and information on the various ways you can provide feedback. Below, you will find the two default “sections” of the portal: Assess and Protect. In the Assess section, you’ll see a quick glance of the current compliance configuration of the tenant. In its current form, it includes the Compliance score, as obtained from the Compliance manager, and a list of people with the most shared files.

There are some design issues, such as the horizontal scrollbar and the cut off column label. However, the intention here is clear – to provide some important information and enable the Admin to perform relevant actions directly from the card, or from a pane popping out from the right. This hasn’t been recognized in the preview version of the portal, however, with every single card linking to external portals, most notably the Cloud App Security (CAS) and the SCC.

The Protect section is in better shape and features more cards, focused around DLP and integrated apps. Strangely, the Labels card is missing, which I find puzzling considering Labels is probably the most complete section of the new center, I’ll demonstrate this later in the article.

What’s currently missing as a step from the end-to-end workflow is the Respond section, where you can expect to find cards focused on alerts, eDiscovery, content disposition and more.

Now, let’s turn our attention to the navigation menu, where you will find some familiar entries from the SCC. The Home tab brings you to the initial dashboard, which we described above. Monitoring & reports feature the same set of cards you can find on the home page, but you can also get additional entries focusing on alerts, data insights and analytics in the future.

The Classification section features the familiar LabelsLabel policies and Sensitivity Info types subsections from the SCC, and a new Label analyticsone. As mentioned previously, this is the most complete section of the new Compliance center, and you can expect to see parity with the functionalities available in the SCC. Creating, publishing or deleting labels and label policies can all be performed here. My only remark is the the questionable choice of color palette used on all the pop-up panes.

The Policies section on the other hand presents just a list of links to other portals, which annoyingly all open in the same tab. The Supervision tab currently lacks the controls to manage Supervision policies, so the actual setup needs to be performed from the SCC. We do however get a glimpse of the new integrated review experience, which can be accessed by selecting a given policy and clicking the Open button in the right pane.

The controls to manage new Data Subject Requests are also missing from the corresponding tab, and you will have to continue manage those from the SCC. The only action you can perform in the new portal is to Open an existing DSR, which again takes you to the SCC, as all the eDiscovery and Content Search functionality is currently not available in the Compliance center. The last two tabs of the navigation menu expose the Permissionspage, where you can check who gets access to the Compliance center, and the More resources page, featuring links to all the other important Security and Compliance focused portals.

Unlike the Microsoft 365 Admin center, we currently don’t have any ways to customize the Compliance center. This, however, is a limitation of the preview experience – Microsoft demoed the full version of the portal at Ignite, which featured robust customization controls. As the portal matures, you can expect to get all of these.

As a summary, the new Compliance center features a modern design, applied uniformly across all sections, unlike the current state of the Microsoft 365 Admin Center preview. There is some merit in providing a specialized, persona-based experience, however the number of times you get redirected outside of the Compliance center to other portals or pages is disappointing. That’s bound to change in the future, as the portal matures, and more functionalities are brought into the new experience. If you are interested in seeing what you can expect, check out this Ignite sessionrecording.

The new Security Center

Switching gears to the new Security Center, which you can access via the Admin center’s link or directly at, you can expect more of the same. The design follows the same patterns as the Compliance center and is uniform across all pages and tabs. Customizability features are missing here as well, but as mentioned in the previous section they are part of the design and will be present in future iterations of the portal.

On the Home page, after skipping over the first run experience, you will be presented with Prevent and Detect sections. In the Prevent section, you will find cards that surface insights around identities, devices, applications, data and more. The Secure score card takes a central place, with five additional cards already available and more coming. On the other hand, the Detect section is almost barren, with the Alerts card (and page) not yet available.

Moving to the next item on the Navigation menu, we have Monitoring & reports, where you can expect to find numerous reports organized in the categories we discussed above. Alternatively, you can group the corresponding cards/reports by topics, which include: RiskDetection trendsConfiguration and health, and Other.

The Secure Score tab takes you to an in-portal version of the Microsoft Secure Score, complete with an Overview dashboard, list of Improvement actions and History of the score changes in the past 90 days. The implementation of the Improvement actions section is a clear improvement over the corresponding section in the actual Secure score portal. Not only additional details such as the Rank or User impact are surfaced as columns which you can sort, group or filter by, but browsing between the items is made much easier thanks to the convenient Move up/Move down controls.

Unfortunately, in-page configurations here are not possible, and all actions will have to be performed from the corresponding portal, to which the View setting button takes you. Overall, this part of the portal offers just the type of experience you can expect to see from either the Security or the Compliance centers once they reach GA status, so make sure you give it a quick look.

Let’s look at the Hunting section, which is obviously named by the same people that “shoot” emails. This section is all about detecting suspicious activities and investigating threats across the whole suite of services bundled in Microsoft 365. Next, is the Classification tab, which is identical to the one in the Compliance center. This comes as no surprise, as labels and label policies span across both security and compliance, so at least some overlap is expected.

On the Policies tab, you can expect to find links to various AlertDevice or Threat protection policies. Permissions lists the roles that have access to the Security center and their corresponding members. Just like the Permissions section in the Compliance center, no modifications to the roles or members is possible, and you will have to use the Azure AD (or Office 365) portal for that. Lastly, we have the More resources page, with links to all the other admin portals.

So, what’s missing from the initial version of the Security Center? Most notably, the Alerts cards and section, and the Unified Audit log. Numerous other parts are absent or only available via links to the other portals, but that will slowly change over the course of the next few months.

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Microsoft Teams

Microsoft to add two new Microsoft 365 security, compliance bundles to its line-up


Starting February 1, Microsoft add two new Microsoft 365 subscription bundles to its price list. These packages are aimed at business customers who might not be ready to subscribe to the highest-end Microsoft 365 E5 bundle, but who are interested in some of its security and compliance features.

The Microsoft 365 Identity & Threat Protection package will combine Microsoft Threat Protection (Azure ATP, WIndows Defender ATP and Office 365 ATP) plus Microsoft Cloud App Security and Azure Active Directory. This bundle will cost $12 per user per month (before volume discounts are applied). The Microsoft 365 Information Protection & Compliance package combines Office 365 Advanced Compliance and Azure Information Protection services and is aimed at chief-compliance officers. This bundle will cost $10 per user per month (before volume discounts are applied).

Microsoft is not removing any of the security or compliance features currently included in Microsoft 365 E5 from that roughly $54 per user per month bundle. Instead, these two new bundles will be offered alongside the current Microsoft 365 plans, officials said. Microsoft is anticipating that the majority of those interested in the two new bundles will be Office 365 E3 users already, said Corporate Vice President of Microsoft 365 Commercial Ron Markezich.

Microsoft 365 is an integrated bundle of Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (aka EMS, which includes Intune device management, analytics and some Azure Active Directory capabilities), sold on a subscription basis. Microsoft introduced the Microsoft 365 concept at its partner conference in July 2017. The first two editions (Business and Enterprise) became available for purchase in early August 2017.

In other Microsoft 365 news, Microsoft is going to make its MyAnalytics service available to any Office 365 Office 365 and Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Business customer (who has the rights to Exchange Online) for no additional cost. Currently, MyAnalytics is available as part of Office 365 and Microsoft 365 E5 (or as an add-on to E1 or E3) only.

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Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Announces New Office App for Windows 10


Microsoft today announced a new Office app for Windows 10. It will replace the My Office app that currently ships with the system.

“Starting today, we’re bringing the new experience to Windows 10 in the form of an app, simply called Office,” Microsoft corporate vice president Jared Spataro announced. “It’s now available to Windows Insiders (Fast) and will roll out to all Windows 10 users soon. The app is free and it can be used with any Office 365 subscription, the latest perpetual versions of Office, or Office Online, the free web-based version of Office for consumers.”

The Office app provides the following benefits:

Quickly switch between apps. The Office app provides shortcuts to all of your Office applications so you can access them from a single place.

Get back into your work. The Office app also provides shortcuts to our most recently used documents, pinned documents, and documents shared with you.

Find what you need. Thanks to integrated Microsoft Search, you can find the apps, documents, people, and sites you need quickly and easily.

Tailor it to your organization. Organizations can brand the Office app and add shortcuts to their own line of business (LOB) applications for a more personalized experience.

The Office app is certainly nicer-looking and more useful than the old My Office app. But I can’t imagine that many users will actually use this thing regularly, and for the same reasons. It’s just not necessary, thanks to OneDrive integration with Windows 10 and the Most Recently Used (MRU) document functionality in all Office applications.

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Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Adds Guest Access to Microsoft Teams

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Microsoft today added the ability to invite external guests into Microsoft Teams for organizations using Office 365 services.

The new capability currently only works for external guests that have Azure Active Directory accounts (although there are “more than 870 million” Azure AD accounts in existence, according to Microsoft’s announcement). Microsoft plans to make it possible to invite guests with Microsoft accounts, too, in the near future. Microsoft Teams is a “collaboration workspace” solution for Office 365 users. It’s enabled via Microsoft Groups and delivers persistent chat sessions for end users, as well as meetings, messaging and phone calls, according to Microsoft’s FAQ for administrators.

The guest invite capability in Microsoft Teams is enabled through the Azure AD B2B service, which is currently available in Europe and North America. Microsoft Teams invitations get the same sort of security assurances as enabled via the Azure AD B2B service, Microsoft’s announcement promised. For instance, conditional access policies can be imposed, including an insistence on the use of multifactor authentication to verify user identities. According to Microsoft’s announcement, “guest user content and activities are under the same compliance and auditing protection as the rest of Office 365.” IT pros can revoke guest access, if they want.

The guest access capability is not turned on by default for Office 365 tenancies, according to this “Administrator Settings” document. It appears that IT pros have to toggle it on using Office 365 Admin Center settings, although the process isn’t described in Microsoft’s document.

Microsoft Team “owners” are empowered to invite guests. A team owner can be any end user in an organization using Office 365 where Teams is enabled. The team that gets created can be either public or private. Team owners set the permissions for the team members. They can control whether guests can create “channels, tabs and connectors,” as well as notifications via “@[name]” mentions, plus access to the use of “GIFs, stickers and memes,” according to Microsoft’s “Teams and Channels” FAQ.

In essence, a “channel” is just a focused chat conversation. A “tab” is part of the user interface in Microsoft Teams, which can be used to add applications and bots to the Microsoft Teams experience. The “@mentions” feature lets Microsoft Teams users flag other users, or even other channels or teams, by adding the “@” symbol before those names. A team owner can have up to 999 people to a particular team.

On the applications side, Microsoft announced earlier this week that it expanded Microsoft Teams by adding support for Botkit, a toolkit for making bots for internal or external use. In addition, Microsoft plans to support the integration of ServiceNow service management solutions to show notifications in Microsoft Teams. Other additions coming to Microsoft Teams include integrations with Atlassian and GitHub developer collaboration tools. Microsoft’s new partnership with Adobe, announced last week, will add collaboration capabilities in Microsoft Teams for the “Adobe Creative Cloud, Document Cloud and Experience Cloud.”

Guests in Microsoft Teams have a few restrictions by default, according to this “Guest Access in Microsoft Teams” document. They can’t share chat files or add applications. Guests can’t create a team or view organizational charts by default. They also can’t search for a public team and join it. They have to be invited.

IT pros ultimately have control over Team owners by specifying who can or cannot create a group in Office 365. Microsoft Teams is turned on by default tenancy wide for business Office 365 users, so IT pros wanting to disable access have to revoke individual Microsoft Teams licenses for end users via the Office 365 Admin Center or via PowerShell. In contrast, Office 365 Education users have the Microsoft Teams feature turned off by default.

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