Office 365

Office 365

Microsoft Defender Application Guard Reaches M365 Office in Preview


Microsoft Defender Application Guard (previously under the Windows Defender branding) is reaching public preview for Office users this week. Microsoft says the tool is available for Microsoft 365 subscribers to test.

Using Microsoft Defender Application Guard, customers can sandbox untrusted documents keeping them away from a system. Through this virtual container, documents across Office apps can be vetted if they come from an unknown source.

Defender AG functions in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It also functions within emails, allowing users to safely and securely open attachments in Microsoft 365. When the tool opens a document, it fires a notification to users. If the user trusts the source, they can remove the AG warning.

“To help protect your users, Office opens files from potentially unsafe locations in Application Guard, a secure container that is isolated from the device through hardware-based virtualization. When Office opens files in Application Guard, users can securely read, edit, print, and save those files without having to re-open files outside the container.”


Unfortunately, Microsoft is limiting the availability of the tool. Specifically, the company says the tool is available on to Microsoft 365 E5 or E5 Security users. That’s a shame because this is the kind of security tool that would be useful for all businesses and even personal users.

Clearly, Microsoft wants Application Guard to be an exclusive to entice organizations to the E5 subscription.

There are some requirements to test the preview. Firstly, users must be running Windows 10 Enterprise version 2004 on build 19041 or newer. Office 365 version 2008 (build 16.0.13212 or newer), and the KB4566782 security update must also be in use. needs to be installed.

Customers will need a machine offering at least an Intel Core i5 or equivalent, along with 10GB of storage space and at least 8GB of RAM.

Source Winbuzzer

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Office 365

Microsoft Excel STOCKHISTORY Beta Provides Data Overview of Stock Values


Microsoft has revealed a new feature coming to its Microsoft Excel app for Office and Microsoft 365. Called STOCKHISTORY, the tool will help Excel users see a visualization of their data for a company over a spread of time.

STOCKHISTORY tops into the Stocks data type in Microsoft Excel and also the dynamic arrays ability that came to the app last year. As the name suggests, STOCKHISTORY will compile stock values from different dates and present them all in Excel.

Dynamic arrays is an important part of the new tool. The feature allows formulas to output values across cells as a list:

“Using dynamic arrays, any formula that returns an array of values will seamlessly “spill” into neighboring unoccupied cells, making it as easy to get an array of values returned as it is to work on a single cell. You can immediately harness the power of dynamic arrays by using one of the new FILTER, UNIQUE, SORT, SORTBY, SEQUENCE, SINGLE, and RANDARRAY functions to build spreadsheets that would previously have been nearly impossible.”


In a blog post, Microsoft details the signature details of STOCKHISTORY in Microsoft Excel:

  • stock: The identifier for the financial instrument targeted. This can be a ticker symbol or a Stocks data type.
  • start_date: The earliest date for which you want information.
  • end_date (optional): The latest date for which you want information.
  • interval (optional): Daily (0), Weekly (1), or Monthly (2) interval options for data
  • headers (optional): Specifies if additional header rows are returned with the array.
  • property0 – property5 (optional): Specifies which information should be included in the result, Date (0), Close (1), Open (2), High (3), Low (4), Volume (5).

STOCKHISTORY is available to Microsoft 365 users in beta preview. However, Microsoft points out the tool is currently only available to 50% of users on the Office Insider Fast Ring on Windows. The company does not say how it decides which customers receive the ability first.

Microsoft has been working on expanding the stock capabilities of Excel. Last year, the company announced a partnership with Refinitiv and Nasdaq. Under the partnership, those companies will bring real-time stocks to the Office app.

Since then, users of Excel can track up-to-date stock information across major U.S. exchanges in Nasdaq and stocks data from Refinitiv.

Source Winbuzzer

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Office 365

Microsoft Updates OneDrive for Business, Admin, and Consumer Users


Microsoft yesterday announced a feature-rich update for OneDrive. Microsoft 365 users using business, personal, and admin accounts can access a slew of new tools. In a blog post, Microsoft revealed the extensive changes coming to the cloud storage solution.

“We’re excited to announce new OneDrive features across Microsoft 365 that bring a more connected and flexible files experience to business users, more control to admins, and a more personal touch to everyone at home.”

Microsoft says the features will be rolling out to the app during this month.

Business Users

On the business side, Microsoft 365 users can now easily add shared folders with an “Add to OneDrive” button. Furthermore, file sharing and access management is now available in Microsoft Teams.

  • “New “Add to OneDrive” will allow users to easily add shared folders to OneDrive.
  • Familiar OneDrive file sharing and access control experience in Teams.
  • OneDrive will soon support read and write sync for shared libraries that contain required metadata.
  • File access will be maintained for shared users even if the file location is changed.
  • Upload file size limit is increased from 15 GB to 100 GB in OneDrive and SharePoint.
  • Ability to turn off comment notifications for individual files.
  • Ability to share links copied from your browser address bar with your internal colleagues (if admin-enabled).”

Admin Changes

Admins working with OneDrive will also be getting some new tools. For example, a new dashboard is available to check sync app version and the sync status. Users can also see top sync errors across devices.

Microsoft says a new feature coming soon will allow admins to implement multi-factor authentication policies. Lastly, all admin controls in OneDrive will also be available in the SharePoint admin center.

  • “New dashboard to check sync app versions, sync status, and top sync errors on individual devices.
  • Admins will soon be able to implement automatic expiration of external access, multi-factor authentication policies, like prompting one-time passcodes (OTP) and more.
  • All OneDrive admin capabilities, including controls for sharing, access, sync, and storage, will be available in the SharePoint admin center, consolidating admin tools in one place.”

Consumer Users

Consumers have not been left out of this round of OneDrive updates. Specifically, users can now predefine a group of people to share files to. Dark Mode for the web version of the service is now live.

  • “New feature will lets you predefine a group of people from your personal life and then easily share files, photos, videos, and albums with that group.
  • Dark Mode to OneDrive for the web across commercial and personal accounts.
  • Newly released features like OneDrive’s file detail pane and activity feed let you see your file activity and comments in single view.”

Source Winbuzzer

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Office 365

The Top 6 Considerations for Migrating between Office 365 Tenants – Part Two


In Part One of this series, we discussed the prerequisites for a migration. Such as, which apps can go, which can’t and what challenges you may be faced with. In this instalment, we’ll take a deeper dive into domains and identity creation and management, and velocity.

1. Domains

One of the bigger challenges in an Exchange Online migration (often correctly considered to be the easiest of the workloads to move) is maintaining a single domain across multiple tenants. This is a common issue in larger migrations when you need to migrate users across several days or potentially weeks.

If you’re not re-branding and continuing to use the same email domain, it’s impossible to host the same domain in two tenants, so how can we work around this.

A popular solution is to use a third-party Office 365 tenant to tenant migration solution to do address rewriting on inbound and outbound mail. In this scenario, you would typically use a sub-domain or alternate domain in the “target” tenant and rewrite outbound mail at the routing solution, so it appears to come from the original primary domain.

If you know this is going to be a temporary solution that can’t be worked around, another option would be to build and configure an Exchange Edge server, potentially in Azure, and route mail through the Edge server. You can read more information on how to do this here.

This would be preferable as you are normally tied into longer 1-3 year agreements with third-party providers, whereas you could decommission the Edge Server as soon as you were done. But you would need to weigh up the cost of licensing the server and Exchange against the other options.

In most scenarios, we see customers opting to increase migration velocity (more on this later) to reduce the impact and use a sub-domain, or similar, where there isn’t a third-party solution already in place. This means that any change in domain is only temporary for a short time, and no additional cost or complexity is introduced.

2. Identity Creation and Management

When speaking to customers about Office 365 migration plans, my key point to them is ‘Identity is everything’. This differs a lot from on-premises.

Identity is the entry point and control to everything within Office 365 and beyond. If you’re using Azure AD as your authentication provider for other enterprise applications, it’s critical you get the configuration of identity and ongoing management correct.

It can seem daunting at first, for example, you could have hundreds of users from separate directories that you need to work through to ensure there are not going to be any duplicate values. You must ensure you understand where the identities are going to be managed. Do you need to maintain an on-premises Active Directory, or are you going to remove AD completely and go with cloud-only identity management? You will often see when consolidating two different organisations new duplicate names that you didn’t have before, and you’ll need a strategy for identifying these and selecting which person gets the “non-standard” identity (i.e.

Begin by determining where your “source of authority” lives. Typically, if this is an environment that already exists then the users here will become your “primary” accounts, and any duplicate values that arrive from the additional directory, will become secondary. Make sure you plan out how you will get any new identities into the new source, or if you even need to. For example, if you are currently running AAD Connect in two different AD forests to two different tenants, could you switch to using a single AAD Connect with multi-forest sync, or even use the new Azure AD Cloud Provisioning Agent?

There is a multitude of options, and there are not necessarily any right or wrong answers. The key is to ensure you have selected a strategy, planned out how you will implement it, and fully understand all the impacts of your chosen solution.

3. Velocity

The velocity of migration is always a difficult decision, regardless of what type of migration you’re executing. With tenant to tenant migrations, this can be particularly challenging as the native user experience isn’t as pleasant as Exchange Hybrid for example. And there are normally a lot more workloads involved due to the nature of moving across tenants.

At the highest level, your options are:

  • Big Bang: migrating all your users in a single cutover, normally performed over a weekend. This is achieved by pre-syncing as much data as possible in advance, reducing the volume of data to be migrated at cutover. This approach reduces coexistence requirements and would answer the limitations for domains in a single tenant mentioned above. However, it will mean supporting all of your users in one day and would restrict your ability to pilot the migration and the additional risk created by moving so much data in one go which could impact whether everything is moved in time.
  • Batched Approach: migrating users in batches is more controlled, and you can be adjusted to meet the business needs. You have less data to move at one time, and you have smaller numbers of users to support through the change. But you do incur additional complications in enabling coexistence for migrated and non-migrated users, the additional complexity in configuring mail flow across the two tenants, and the additional business cost to spreading the effort over a longer period.

As with a lot of these considerations, there is no right or wrong answer, and I have seen both options implemented successfully across several different clients. What you should ensure though, is that the approach is going to work for your project and your users, that you can meet the needs of the business, and de-risk the project as much as possible, whilst still ensuring success in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

In the final instalment of this tenant to tenant migration series, we’ll look at the last three considerations: ensuring you’re going to the right tenant, end user devices, and user communications and education.

Source Practical365

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Office 365

The Top 6 Considerations for Migrating between Office 365 Tenants – Part One


Over the last decade, a growing number of organisations have either migrated from their on-premises infrastructure, or provisioned straight into the cloud-hosted, multi-tenant world of Office 365.

Unsurprisingly, a lot has changed in this time. Companies have grown, gone through mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, and new features have been released. The landscape today is unrecognisable compared to when organisations initially deployed Office 365. Naturally, the original setup has changed too.

Speaking from personal experience, international companies could create multiple tenants to keep data in the correct data residency, or because of performance concerns. With the introduction of Office 365 multi-geo, this is now less of a concern. And this is just one example of how the introduction of one feature could change a large portion of a tenant or service design.

These improving functionalities and increased number of Office 365 enabled businesses has led to a proliferation of companies moving between Office 365 tenants. There are many reasons for this:

  • Consolidating legacy tenants that no longer need splitting
  • Providing better user experience by being in a unified tenant
  • Businesses acquiring and merging with other businesses that are already using Office 365
  • Moving away into a new Office 365 tenant as part of a demerger

In this blog series, I’ll describe some of the key decisions and considerations you should think about before starting your tenant to tenant migration, and some useful insights to help you make the right decisions.

What needs to move between Office 365 Tenants?

This may be obvious, but the first task when undertaking any migration, and particularly when migrating between Office 365 tenants is identifying what needs to and can be migrated.

I recommend you start by listing your requirements for the migration using the MOSCoW method, or similar to help you choose the right tool for this project.

What can and can’t be migrated is primarily defined by the APIs published by Microsoft for access to services and their data.

SharePoint and OneDrive for Business have been used for many years and are commonly migrated apps. The APIs here are well understood by software vendors and there are now some very comprehensive solutions for moving and manipulating SharePoint data for a migration.

There are also options for migration without using a tool, such as getting users to sync their data with the old and then the new tenant. When embarking on a migration, your budget, the capability of your users, and the level of control will dictate which route you take.

Exchange is similar, however, there are still limitations to what you can move in a tenant to tenant migration. Emails and other data from within the mailbox are easy to move across, but permissions are not such a low bar. Not all third-party tools have developed the capability to migrate permissions, so be aware of your needs for sharing after migration, and ensure you select the right tool for the job.

Learn more Office 65 Tenant Migration: How to Migrate Exchange Mailbox Permissions in this upcoming webinar with Mike Weaver.

Likewise, there is a “no tool” option for migrating Exchange Online content by exporting to PST and importing into the new mailbox. However, this will have a serious impact on things such as immutability and things such as “on-hold” data which will not be exportable to the user.

Microsoft Teams is obviously a newer member of the tool set. Teams’ APIs have only recently been released which can be used for a migration, but there are now options on the market for migrating Teams, Channels, Apps and Files associated. Again though, you must be cautious of what will be migrated and how by validating the content, and also in what way it’s moved using the APIs.

Something else to bear in mind is meeting recordings which are held in Microsoft Stream. There is not currently a migration API for Stream, so these would also be lost without manually downloading and re-uploading the data. Finally, like Exchange Online there will be content that may be deleted but protected using retention policies which may not be migrated, and this could be key in scenarios such as litigation, so be sure you know what you are and are not migrating.

Beyond those three key platforms there are wider Office 365 applications which are increasingly used across organisations, which only have limited solutions for migrating the data. Planner has limited migration APIs, but some limited data migration is possible.

PowerApps and Power Automate, however, have no migration APIs, so you will need to educate your users on how to manually export and import their solutions across to the new tenant. I have already mentioned the lack of a migration API for Microsoft Stream, and PowerBI will also need you to export your solutions and recreate them in the target tenant.

Then there will be services without data that you need to consider, such as Microsoft Information Protection which applies labels to and protects your documents. You will need to carefully consider the impact of moving protected content across tenants which is being used by new identities. You’ll also need to consider how a different classification or protection scheme in the new tenant could affect migrated documents. Or, if they’ll even be accessible after a migration, depending on what protection you apply and how you intend to migrate. Here, you will have to remove all protection before migration and then reapply the same once the data has moved.

Also don’t forget the years of configuration that may have gone in to things like your Exchange Online Protection configuration, policies in the Security and Compliance Center for retention and DLP and similar, all of which have no API to copy them across and you will be required to recreate all of that configuration manually – no easy task.

All of this goes to show that moving across tenants is about far more than just copying and pasting some emails and files, and you need to ensure you are aware of everything that should be copied across, including configuration settings, and then proactively check it has been migrated and behaves as you expect after your migration has been completed.

Join me in the second part of this series, which will be released tomorrow where I’ll be discussing the challenges you may experience with domains and identity creation and management.

Source Practical365

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Office 365

Microsoft Outlook Targeted by New Gamaredon Threat Tactic


Gamaredon is a threat group that has created a new VBA macro to attack Microsoft Outlook users by accessing their contacts. According to researchers, a new version of the Gamaredon post-compromise toolset can create a new type of threat.

Specifically, the threat group has added a new Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macro to the toolkit. This allows bad actors to enter Microsoft Outlook accounts through spear-phishing campaigns set to user contacts.

Of course, a spear phishing campaign conducted through email is hardly anything new. However, security teams say this method of compromising an inbox is the first public example of an attack that combines Outlook macro with OTM.

If you’re unfamiliar with OTM, it is a file that store macros for Microsoft Outlook.

“In the last few months, there has been an increase in activity from this group, with constant waves of malicious emails hitting their targets’ mailboxes,” according to Jean-Ian Boutin, senior malware researcher with ESET, in a Thursday analysis. “The attachments to these emails are documents with malicious macros that, when executed, try to download a multitude of different malware variants.”

Attack Method

Attackers can target users through emails that have attachments. Like most phishing attacks, this involves a legitimate looking email that tricks users into clicking a link. When an Outlook user is compromised by the attack, the bad actor can send malicious in a 7z self-extracting archive

This malicious cost runs the BVScript that ends the Outlook process and removes security protections from the VBA macro. An infected OTM file is then placed onto the device storage. Attackers can then use this access to send emails to contacts in the victims Outlook.

Like the initial attack, the email sent to other contacts also contains an attachment with malicious code. Because the email comes from a seemingly legitimate contact, the recipient may be more likely to open the link.

Source Winbuzzer

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Office 365

Why are Office 365 Tenant to Tenant Migrations more difficult for business divestitures?


Office 365 tenant divestitures are notoriously complex, and without a proper understanding of how to execute one, they can become extremely problematic for IT teams.

Divestitures are very different from merger and acquisitions, although many people bucket them together. If you work for a company that regularly engages in M&A activity, you may think you have your Office 365 tenant to tenant migration process nailed down, but divestitures can see you easily come unstuck.

The planning effort is often underestimated, with major challenges surrounding the process of securely and accurately separating data, and then moving it.

Divesting your data

It must be noted, divestitures are inherently difficult because, in most cases, companies typically do not plan to spin off or sell a business unit from the outset. This means their Office 365 users, and more importantly their data, is intermingled with an enormous amount of other data.

To make it even harder, this business activity is often related to other M&A work. For example, in the US, sometimes in a regulated entity you can’t acquire a company if it’s going to put you over a certain percentage of business, which is really common in the insurance and finance sectors, so you suddenly have to divest a section of your business, or a region of your business.

This often means selling to a competitor, and that gets really stressful because you have a legal obligation to divest the users and their data to that other entity, but you want to ensure you’re not sending strategy documents or items that could inadvertently help the competition.

To make matters worse, often the data that’s going and what’s staying is not well defined in the planning stages and, again, the people who are moving probably have multiple projects and multiple tasks they’re working on, so uncoupling this data can be extremely difficult.

Consciously uncoupling

Most organizations follow one of two paths when they embark on this process.

The first path is a user-driven process, where your users designate the data that’s moving. This can be as simple as creating a top-level folder for the users in OneDrive or Exchange, and then you instruct them to drag and drop the items they want to move.

Once you have the data in this centric space, it makes it easier to conduct spot-checks to ensure employees are moving the right items before they’re migrated. Here’s a brief overview of this method in this short video:

The other approach is to conduct a full eDiscovery search. You can leverage your eDiscovery capabilities to look for key terms, maybe a project name or a client name, to collect relevant information.

This approach is championed by many, but may not always be practical. You can learn more in the video below:

If the segment of the business is spinning off into a new entity, then it’s a little less stressful because it’s not a competitor, so in many cases you’re in control of creating the new Office 365 tenant.

You have the keys to both as you migrate data, so you can then perform eDiscovery searches on the target tenant to ensure nothing inappropriate has moved. When that company does divest or formally spins off, you just have to ‘give the keys’ to the new tenant owner, and that’s a way some organizations do it, mainly for spin offs but even for some for divestitures situations.

If you’re really concerned, you can even put users into a ‘demilitarized zone’ of another tenant, but this scenario creates a problem for the third entity, because you’ve now got to perform another tenant to tenant migration, and this second disruption makes for a less than user-friendly experience.

Source Practical365

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Office 365

Microsoft Backs out of Plan to Force Bing on Office 365 ProPlus Users


Microsoft has backed out of plans to automatically install a Microsoft Search in Bing extension on Office 365 ProPlus user’s Chrome browsers. The change, which was announced on January 22, was met with immediate and severe backlash, but the company maintains that it holds value.

“We’ve heard from many customers who are excited about the value Microsoft Search provides through Bing and the simplicity of deploying that value through Office 365 ProPlus,” said the Office 365 team in a blog post. “With Microsoft Search integrated, Bing becomes a single search engine for users to find what they need – both from inside their organization and the public web.”

Microsoft says it heard concerns about how it wanted to roll this “value” out, and as a result, the extension install will be opt-in, rather than opt-out. This means the extension, which also lets users search their organization’s files, won’t be automatically installed on browsers that don’t have Bing as their default.
This is obviously the right decision and one that should have been made in the first place. While some organizations would benefit from a universal search, others are still very reliant on Google. Forcing another search engine on users just feels like a desperate browser hijack tactic, a practice Microsoft has been trying to eliminate.
From now on, admins will notice that the Microsoft Search in Bing browser extension will be opt-in via a toggle int he Microsoft 365 admin center. The extension will only apply to AD-joined devices even within that opt-in, and users who do get the extension will still have the option to change their search engine. How exactly this tactic got pushed through is unclear, but Microsoft has at least listened to its customers in this case.

Source winbuzzer

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Office 365

Microsoft Search for Bing Becomes Default Search on Chrome for Office 365 ProPlus


Microsoft Search is having an increasing influence across Microsoft’s services. While it is already a part of the Bing experience, the company is working on increasing the power of Microsoft Search in Bing. Specifically, Microsoft is making Microsoft Search in Bing the default search for Google Chrome in Office 365 ProPlus.

If you’re unfamiliar with Microsoft Search, it leverages the power of Microsoft Graph, the new search experience will work across all core apps, including Bing, Office, Windows 10, and Microsoft Edge, Yammer, and SharePoint.

The upside of Microsoft Search is it gives organizations the ability to access business-wide data easily and more or less in real time.
“Learning from your everyday work patterns and acting as a brain for your organization, the Microsoft Graph personalizes your experiences everywhere. We’re pulling together the power of the Microsoft Graph and AI technology from Bing to deliver future experiences that are more relevant to what you are working on,” the company said.
With the new addition, Office 365 ProPlus users on Google Chrome will now be defaulted to Microsoft Search in Bing. This will be implemented through an extension. Microsoft says if users already have Bing as a default, the extension will not be sent.
It is worth remembering that all users can change to their own chosen default at any time.
Microsoft says the new default Bing is coming to Office 365 ProPlus Version 2002 in the following countries:
United Kingdom
United States
The company says the extension will be pushed to other regions in the coming months. Furthermore, the company will also bring it to the Firefox browser during the same timeframe.

Source Winbuzzer

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Office 365

Microsoft Database Security Leak Confirmed by Redmond


Microsoft has disclosed details of a security breach within an internal customer support database. In a blog post today, the company pointed to the breach that happened during December 2019. The database was used to store anonymized user analytics.

In the post, the company explains the information stored on the database was exposed online from December 5 to December 31.

Microsoft did not uncover the problem. Instead, Bob Diachenko, a security researcher for Security Discovery found the problem and reported it to Microsoft. Redmond confirmed the leak but said there was no malicious activity:

“Today, we concluded an investigation into a misconfiguration of an internal customer support database used for Microsoft support case analytics. While the investigation found no malicious use, and although most customers did not have personally identifiable information exposed, we want to be transparent about this incident with all customers and reassure them that we are taking it very seriously and holding ourselves accountable.”

Microsoft’s database had around 250 million entries. Information held on the repository included IP addresses and email addresses. The company confirmed that none of the entries included personal user information.
“As part of Microsoft’s standard operating procedures, data stored in the support case analytics database is redacted using automated tools to remove personal information,” Microsoft said.
The leak was caused by a misconfigured Azure security rule that was rolled out on December 5. The company says a fix has been issues and the following changes made:
Auditing the established network security rules for internal resources.
Expanding the scope of the mechanisms that detect security rule misconfigurations.
Adding additional alerting to service teams when security rule misconfigurations are detected.
Implementing additional redaction automation.

Source Winbuzzer

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