Microsoft has announced that it will end support for Windows 7 operating system next year. The tech giant wants to empower enterprises with modern workplace by making them shift to Microsoft 365.
The tech giant had introduced Microsoft 365 in 2017, combining Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility plus Security (EMS). The service provides enhanced experience to users, empowers creativity and teamwork, and offers a secure and easy-to-manage platform for modern workplace.
“Changes and upgrades in technology are inevitable, and there’s never been a better time to start putting in motion the things you need to do to shift your organization to a modern desktop with Microsoft 365. As you think about this upgrade, this is a time to consider how your approach can set you up for the future to deliver an incredible experience for your users that is empowering and secure,” wrote Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365, in a blog post.
Microsoft also revealed that over 50% of all commercial monthly active devices are running Windows 10. The leading companies like Hendrick Automotive Group, Anheuser-Busch, Fruit of the Loom, and Rogers Communications, have chosen to shift to a modern desktop to gain benefits from improved security and productivity.
Modern desktop by Windows 10 and Office 365 not only streamlines the IT management, but also makes employees more productive and provide more secure computing experience.
One of the main reason for enterprises to adopt a modern desktop is to avoid security concerns. For instance, Windows 10 comes with features like Windows Hello which enables password-less login. This can prevent common security threats like compromised credentials.
If enterprises go on to use Microsoft 365, they also get Office 365 which has built-in features for securing confidential data, meet compliance requirements, and stay in control in the cloud.
Microsofthas launched a new app that brings experience of Office.com site to the users of Windows 10. Simply called Office, the new app will be available for free with Office 365, Office 2019, Office 2016, as well as with Office Online.
The tech giant is continuously focusing on improving the experience for customers and make the most out of Office. Last year, the company had updated the Office.com website so that users can easily resonate with it. And the move has worked positively for Microsoft. Today, over 40% of Office 365 web users begin their tasks from Office.com.
The main features of the new Office app for Windows 10 include ability to quickly switch between any Office applications just with a click. There will be option to access most recently used documents, pinned documents, and shared documents, so that users can get back into the work instantly.
To help users easily and quickly search and find apps, documents, sites or people, the company has integrated Microsoft Search functionality into the new Office app.
Organizations can choose to customize experience for their employees, implement the branding of company, and combine other business lines into the app.
The new Office app for Windows 10 will be the successor of My Office app that is used to manage Office 365 subscriptions. Microsoft said that My Office app will be replaced completely by the Office app.
“If you already have the My Office app, you will get the new Office app through an automatic update in the coming months. Otherwise, you can download it from the Microsoft Store,” wrote Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365, in a blog post.
Office app is currently available to Windows Insiders, and will be available to Windows 10 users in coming weeks. From Summer, Microsoft will provide the Office app pre-installed in the Windows 10 devices.
Microsoft recently announced the acquisition of FSLogix – a next-generation app provisioning platform, to extend Microsoft 365 virtualization capabilities and for providing richer experiences to its customers.
Earlier in September 2018, Microsoft announced a virtual desktop solution that allows customers to run Windows 10 and Office 365 in the cloud. It mentioned several supporting partners who were working on the solution with them, FSLogix is one of those partners.
With its app provisioning capabilities, FSLogix is able to reduce resources, labor and time required to support virtualization.
Microsoft, through this acquisition, aims to enhance the virtual desktop experience for its customers through faster load times and better performances, especially for its Office 365 ProPlus users.
“We are excited to welcome FSLogix to Microsoft, and we look forward to the impact its technology and its people will have on our customers’ virtualization experience. ”Brad Anderson, CVP, Microsoft 365 and Julia White, CVP, Microsoft Azure, wrote in ablog postannouncing the acquisition.
“From the beginning, in working closely with several teams at Microsoft, we recognized that our missions were completely aligned. Both FSLogix and Microsoft are dedicated to providing the absolute best experience for companies choosing to deploy virtual desktops.” – Randy Cook, Founder and CTO, FSLogix, wrote in a blog post.
Microsoft has always focused toward customer empowerment through its various product and services. It launched Microsoft 365 to help customers shift to a modern desktop experience, putting it at the center of workplace transformation.
A modern desktop with the capabilities of Office 365 and Windows 10 combined, offers the most productive and secure computing experience. This helps companies save on time and drive better results.
A few days only Microsoft had announced the intent to acquire XOXCO – Austin based bot developer company for expanding development of conversational bots.
On average, an organization experiences over 2,200 misconfigured incidents every month in their public cloud instances, according to a report by McAfee. These cloud instances include infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS).
For the report, titled Cloud Adoption and Risk Report, McAfee analyzed billions of events in anonymized cloud production use to find the current state of cloud deployments and expose risks.
“Operating in the cloud has become the new normal for organizations, so much so that our employees do not think twice about storing and sharing sensitive data in the cloud,” said Rajiv Gupta, senior vice president of the Cloud Security Business, McAfee.
“Accidental sharing, collaboration errors in SaaS cloud services, configuration errors in IaaS/PaaS cloud services, and threats are all increasing. In order to continue to accelerate their business, organizations need a cloud-native and frictionless way to consistently protect their data and defend from threats across the spectrum of SaaS, IaaS and PaaS.”
Key findings of McAfee’s Cloud Adoption and Risk Report:
21% of data in cloud is sensitive
According to the report, organizations consider around a quarter of their data in the cloud as sensitive. This shows that putting sensitive data in cloud has increased by 53% year over year. Organizations are at risk of the sensitive data being stolen or leaked in case a misconfigured cloud incident occurs.
Today, more and more organizations are using public cloud for providing new digital experiences to their customers. But the organizations that haven’t adopted a cloud strategy are at risk of losing their most valuable asset. A right cloud strategy can include data loss protection, configuration audits, and collaboration controls.
Further, organizations without cloud strategy are also exposing themselves to risk of noncompliance with internal and external regulations.
20% of sensitive data in cloud runs through email services
No doubt, the cloud services help organizations accelerate their business by making the more agile with resources, offering ability to scale and opportunities for collaboration.
Cloud services like Office 365 increase the effectiveness of collaboration, that involves sharing. However, uncontrolled sharing can result in data exposure. The report found that 22% of cloud users share files externally, an increase of 21% YoY.
Sharing of sensitive data with an open, publicly accessible link has increased by 23%, whereas, sensitive data sent to personal email address has increased by 12% YoY.
Top collaboration and file sharing services
For last five years, an Office 365 application is dominating the list of top 10 collaboration services, followed by G Suite services.
Enterprises using IaaS and PaaS had 14 misconfigured services running at any given time
Currently, 65% organizations globally are using some form of IaaS, while 52% are using PaaS.
Since, it is costly to buy and maintain servers, organizations go for IaaS and PaaS. It gives IT teams the ability to spin up virtual machines, containers or functions as a service, as per the need.
For IaaS and PaaS, organizations are trusting Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) the most. AWS clearly leads the pack with 94% of all IaaS usage share. Azure and GCP account for 3.7% and 1.3% shares respectively.
Additionally, 78% of organizations are using a multi-cloud strategy, leveraging both AWS and Azure together.
McAfee study found that on average, enterprises using IaaS and PaaS had 14 misconfigured services running at any given time, resulting in an average of 2,269 misconfiguration incidents per month.
80% organizations experience at least 1 compromised account threat per month
As per the report, most of the threats to data in cloud results from compromised accounts and insider threats. On average, an organization generates over 3.2 billion threat events per month in the cloud. These threat events include compromised account, privileged user, insider threat etc. Such events have increased by 27.7% YoY.
80% of all organizations report that they experienced at least one compromised account threat per month. Whereas, 92% of organizations has stolen cloud credentials for sale on the Dark Web.
For security of sensitive data in cloud storage, file-sharing and collaboration applications, enterprises will need to first understand the cloud services they are using. Further, they must identify which services hold sensitive data, and how that data is being shared and with whom.
When they know these things, they can push suitable security policies to prevent highly sensitive data from being stored in unapproved cloud services. They also need to continuously audit and monitor their IaaS and PaaS configurations.
Download the full Cloud Adoption & Risk Report here.
The commercial release of Office 2019 Server includes Exchange Server 2019, Skype for Business Server 2019, SharePoint Server 2019, and Project Server 2019.
“Office 365 delivers the most productive and most secure Office experience – with the lowest total cost of ownership for deployment and management. However, for customers who aren’t yet ready to move to the cloud, Office 2019 provides an update to the on-premises apps and servers,” wrote Microsoft in a blog post.
Exchange Server 2019 comes with improvements to scalability and performance, along with new and enhanced search powered by Bing technology. There are new options that allow users to limit the forwarding of meeting requests.
Skype for Business Server 2019 will make it easier for existing users to take advantage of key cloud experiences. The main features at general availability include support for cloud voicemail, cloud call data connector, and streamlined teams migration.
Microsofthas brought the ease of use of SharePoint Online to on-premises customers with the release of SharePoint Server 2019. There are modern libraries, lists and communication sites for end users.
For IT professionals, the SharePoint Server 2019 will offer improved performance and scale with simplified management. Developers will be able to build both cloud and on-premises environments with deeper SharePoint Framework integration.
Updates to Project Server 2019 include improved performance, scalability, reporting and an expanded set of APIs.
“Office 2019 is a valuable upgrade for customers who feel that they need to keep some or all of their apps and servers on-premises. As such, we are committed to another on-premises release in the future. However, we will be investing in and adding new capabilities to Office 365 regularly, including innovations in artificial intelligence (AI), collaboration, and security,” added Microsoft.
RackNap – the cloud services delivery and business process automation platform – today announced the availability of its RackNap application in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. With this, now, Microsoft partners can easily install the application in their Azure Subscription with a few clicks and deliver Microsoft cloud services including Microsoft Office 365, Azure and Dynamics 365.
As a service delivery platform, RackNap is a right-fit for Cloud Solution Providers (CSP), Managed Service Providers (MSP), Telcos, Datacenters and other subscription-based IT service providers for delivering cloud as well as traditional IT services (e.g. Hosting). It also helps CSPs manage their provisioning, billing, support, inventory, partner and customer lifecycle from a single platform.
“We have a strong and long-standing relationship with Microsoft that has spanned a decade now.” said Guruprit Ahuja, CEO, RackNap. “This is another milestone in our alliance and will fast track the adoption and consumption of Office 365 and Azure services via RackNap. We are able to deliver RackNap’s complete solution via the Azure Marketplace in an easy to consume way on a monthly subscription based licensing model.”
Nicole Herskowitz, General Manager, Microsoft Azure Product Marketing at Microsoft Corp. said that “Solutions like RackNap offers capabilities for partners to simplify billing and provisioning of cloud services like Microsoft Azure or Office 365. This offering supports the adoption of cloud services, brings efficiency with automation and helps our partners to focus on their business.”
The Automation Platform is available in two deployment models – On-premises and Cloud. The listing of the platform in Azure Marketplace makes it easy for Microsoft partners to install the application in the cloud in a matter of minutes. Partners can visit the linkor reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Microsoft announced a number of new information protection capabilities and updates to its Microsoft 365, in response to GDPR which will come into effect after 25th May.
The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is aimed at protecting and empowering the data privacy of all the citizens of Europe, as well as reshaping the way organizations in Europe approach data privacy. The organizations found to be non-compliant after May 25th may face heavy fines.
It is the responsibility of an organization to meet all regulatory requirements when the data is on-premises. However, when the data is moved to cloud, it becomes the responsibility of Cloud Service Provider as well.
The updates in Microsoft 365 include general availability of Compliance Manager for Azure, Dynamics 365, and Office 365 Business and Enterprise subscribers. Compliance Manager, available for Preview since November 2017, enables organizations to perform on-going risk assessments, and makes it transparent to customers how Microsoft protects their data.
Compliance Manager includes Compliance Score feature, which allows organizations to gain visibility into compliance stature of organization with a risk-based score reference. It is available for Office 365 users.
Microsoft also announced general availability of Azure Information Protection scanner, which enables users to automatically discover, classify, label, and protect documents in on-premises repositories like File servers and on-premises SharePoint servers.
The new intelligent compliance solutions in Microsoft 365 will help organizations to protect sensitive data, support data protection in apps and across all cloud services. Organizations can use it to scan hybrid and on-premises repositories by periodically configuring it.
Additionally, Microsoft is previewing Consistent labeling schema experience, which will be used to eliminate the need to create labels in two different places across information protection solutions in Microsoft 365.
Microsoft has teamed up with Cisco to provide customers more secure network connectivity to Microsoft Azure cloud platform with Azure ExpressRoute.
Azure ExpressRoute helps the users to establish a private and direct connection to Microsoft cloud services, like Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365. It also enables them to extend their on-premises networks into Microsoft cloud, which helps in managing and running the business-critical applications and services.
The enterprises that move to cloud from a traditional IT model face a number of cloud challenges, like increased complexity, loss of speed and data integrity, limited connectivity and management hassles, among others.
To overcome these challenges, Cisco will now provide its Solution Support for Azure ExpressRoute, to build a new network practice which provides fast, reliable, and predictable private connectivity.
“To help address on-premises issues, which often require deep technical networking expertise, we continue to partner closely with Cisco to provide a better customer networking experience. Working together, we can solve the most challenging networking issues encountered by enterprise customers using Azure ExpressRoute,” wrote Yousef Khalidi CVP, Azure Networking, in a blog post.
The Cisco Solution Support offers additional support and guidance options for Azure ExpressRoute, helping the customers on premises end of the network. The customers will also have support from Cisco solution experts to quickly resolve their issues and connect to Microsoft Cloud Platform.
“With our customers in mind, Cisco is extending our Solution Support portfolio with a new network practice and offer for Azure ExpressRoute. This new offer for networking targeting the customers on premises network, allows us to leverage our world class networking expertise to assist customers using Cisco networking products and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute to connect to the Microsoft Azure Cloud Platform,” wrote Joe Pinto, Senior VP, Cisco’s Technical Services Group, in a separate blog post.
Furthermore, Microsoft has integrated Network Performance Monitor (NPM) into ExpressRoute, which will enable customers to monitor connectivity to PaaS services (Azure Storage), as well as SaaS services (Office 365). This will provide more deep visibility into ExpressRoute network traffic. It will be generally available in mid-February in six regions.
Additionally, Microsoft has merged public and Microsoft peering for simplified management and configuration of ExpressRoute. The ExpressRoute configuration needed customers to have ExpressRoute circuits in two different cities. Microsoft is planning to provide the second ExpressRoute site in the cities which already have an ExpressRoute site. As of now, the second peering location is available in Singapore only.
Microsoft disclosed its earnings report for FY17 Q4 for the month ending June 30, 2017.
Surpassing analysts’ expectations, Microsoft recorded a revenue of $23.3 billion GAAP and $24.7 billion non-GAAP. This was higher than the Wall Street’s anticipation of $24.3 billion. It further reported an operating income of $7.0 billion non-GAAP.
Its intelligent cloud revenue grew 11 % year-over-year to $7.4 billion.
Microsoft CEO – Satya Nadella, said that innovation across company’s cloud platforms is a major reason behind the revenue hike.
He said, “Customers are looking to Microsoft and our thriving partner ecosystem to accelerate their own digital transformations and to unlock new opportunity in this era of intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.”
Apart from Azure, Office 365 also recorded a good performance with Office consumer products and commercial products increasing by 13% and 5% respectively.
Other products like Windows OEM recorded a 1% (up 1% in constant currency) increase in revenue, which is a bit ahead of the overall PC market.
Surface revenue decreased by 2% (1% in constant currency), supposedly due to product life-cycle transition.
Company’s gaming console unit also reported good revenue increase due to strong products like Xbox.
The increased revenue is a clear indicator of company’s constant efforts to evolve digitally.
The recently held Microsoft Inspire also focused on the same vision – to invest in areas that drive success for both Microsoft and its customers with products like Microsoft 365.
On top of the Q4 earnings report, Microsoft also revealed the results for the full financial year 2017. The company earned non-GAAP revenue of $96.7 billion for the twelve months ending on June 30, and a net income of $25.9 billion.
The day 1 keynote at Microsoft Inspire 2017 led by the company’s CEO – Satya Nadella, saw some major announcements revolving around new products and services driven by digital transformation.
The two-hour keynote session talked about multiple opportunities that a digital world built around Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge offers. Microsoft emphasized the importance of digital technologies and how effective implementation of these can help partners multiply their profits.
Announcements that will empower businesses and end customers – the people who are the heart of Microsoft’s digital transformation:
Microsoft 365 – combining the efficiencies of Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security
Microsoft introduced its Microsoft 365 offering to cater to the needs of large and small sized businesses. The offering will be available in two versions – Microsoft 365 Enterprise, which is for large scale organizations and Microsoft 365 Business, which is for small scale organizations.
The large organization version will include Office 365 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise and Enterprise Mobility + Security, offered in two plans – Microsoft 365 E3 and Microsoft 365 E5. The plans will be available for purchase on August 1, 2017.
Microsoft business plan for small and medium-sized organizations will include Office 365 Business Premium and a set of various security and management features for Windows 10 devices and Office apps. The business plan will be available for public preview on August 2, 2017 with worldwide general availability expected by the end of 2017.
By selling comprehensive solutions, partners can increase their profit margin and managed services business, as per Microsoft.
New possibilities for Hybrid cloud environments with the general availability of Azure Stack
Microsoft announced orderability of Azure Stack, from their hardware partners Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo. With this, partners will get a new business opportunity through ‘One Azure Ecosystem’ allowing them to extend their Azure investment to Azure Stack. The pricing will be on consumption basis and has been released by the firm. The additional ASDK (Azure Stack Development Kit) to support application development and validation has also been made available.
The other announcements were around the concept of building a modern workplace by connecting with partners; Windows virtualization use rights that will soon be made available to CSPs; Microsoft’s mixed reality (MR) program; Dynamics 365 July update; and many more.