GDPR Data Subject Requests with Office 365

GDPRGDPR Data Subject Access Requests

With GDPR taking effect on May 25, any company operating in the European Union must be able to deal with Data Subject Access Requests (DSRs). Section 3 of Article 15 says that “The controller shall provide a copy of the personal data undergoing processing [to the data subject].”

In the context of Office 365, the controller is the administrator of an Office 365 tenant while the personal data is anything held in an Office 365 data store relating to the data subject (a person). An organization has up to 30 days to respond to a request, which might come from a current or former employee, or someone who does business with the organization. Here’s an interesting blog post describing the kind of request you might receive. Continue reading → GDPR Data Subject Requests with Office 365

Microsoft Switches Office 365 Groups to Private by Default

Microsoft’s original vision for Office 365 Groups emphasized openness. Anyone could create a group and all groups were public. The aim was to foster collaboration and make sure that anyone could join in any group discussion as they liked.

Time passes by and software matures in the fierce heat of customer opinion. The original dedication to openness is less than it was. A group creation policy allows tenants to restrict the creation of new groups to a limit set of users. Teams hides groups that it creates from Exchange clients to avoid the chance of confusing users and Yammer-originated groups are invisible anywhere outside Yammer.

And now, Microsoft has decided to change the default access type for a group from public to private to satisfy  the third-highest rated request for Groups on Uservoice, the place where customers voice their opinion about changes they’d like Microsoft to make.

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Change Happens for Outlook First

Microsoft announced that they are rolling out the change iin Message Center notice MC134487 on April 20. OWA is the first client to go private-by-default (Figure 2), followed by the four other Outlook endpoints for group creation (Outlook for Windows and Mac, Outlook mobile for iOS and Android). Microsoft can change OWA quickly, but it takes a lot longer to work user interface changes into the other clients, so you can expect public-by-default to be around for a while yet.

OWA create new Office 365 Group

If you think that the change is bad and want to keep public by default, you can update the Exchange Online organization configuration with PowerShell. For example:

 

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Other applications will consider this change and work it into their plans. Teams already creates its groups as private unless an owner selects public while SharePoint plans to change its default to private to match the Outlook endpoints. Expect to see a notification to this effect soon.

 

Changing Access Type with Clients

Looking back, it seems bizarre that when Microsoft launched Office 365 Groups in November 2014, you couldn’t change the access type after creation. The ability to change access type by editing group properties arrived in June 2016. Now, it’s a matter of updating the group through OWA, Outlook, or the mobile apps (Figure 3).

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Some might be surprised at the level of administration group owners can perform with Outlook mobile. It’s there because Microsoft deprecated the original Groups app last February. Since then, Microsoft has moved administrative features over to Outlook.

Updating Access Type with PowerShell

Tenant administrators and group owners can also update the access type with PowerShell. Here’s how to update a single group.

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And here’s how to change all the public groups in a tenant to be private to match the new philosophy.

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Education Drives Some Change in Office 365

Microsoft is doing well with Groups and Teams in the education market, especially in the U.S., and it is unsurprising to see them respond to these customers by making groups private by default. Some corporate customers will like the change too, while those who don’t can switch back to the old behavior as described above. I guess everyone likes the idea of being open, but when pressure goes on, privacy is the primary concern for many.

 

 

Blog post form Petri by Tony Redmond

Data Resiliency in Microsoft Office 365

Given the complex nature of cloud computing, Microsoft is mindful that it’s not a case of if things will go wrong, but rather when. Microsoft designed their cloud services to maximize reliability and minimize the negative effects on customers when things do go wrong. We have moved beyond the traditional strategy of relying on complex physical infrastructure, and Microsoft have built redundancy directly into the cloud services. They use a combination of less complex physical infrastructure and more intelligent
software that builds data resiliency into our services and delivers high availability to the customers.
This post describes data resiliency in Microsoft Office 365 from two perspectives:
1. How Microsoft prevents customer data from becoming lost or corrupt in Exchange Online,
SharePoint Online, and Skype for Business; and
2. How Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Skype for Business protect customer data
against malware and ransomware. Continue reading → Data Resiliency in Microsoft Office 365

Deep Dive: How Hybrid Authentication Really Works

A hybrid deployment offers organizations the ability to extend the feature-rich experience and administrative control they have with their existing on-premises Microsoft Exchange organization to the cloud. A hybrid deployment provides the seamless look and feel of a single Exchange organization between an on-premises Exchange organization and Exchange Online in Microsoft Office 365. In addition, a hybrid deployment can serve as an intermediate step to moving completely to an Exchange Online organization.

But one of the challenges some customers are concerned about is that this type of deployment requires that some communication take place between Exchange Online and Exchange on-premises. This communication takes place over the Internet and so this traffic must pass through the on-premises company firewall to reach Exchange on-premises.

The aim of this post is to explain in more detail how this server to server communication works, and to help the reader understand what risks this poses, how these connections are secured and authenticated, and what network controls can be used to restrict or monitor this traffic. Continue reading → Deep Dive: How Hybrid Authentication Really Works

Demystifying Hybrid Free/Busy: what are the moving parts?

Hybrid Free/Busy is one of those things that many people do not fully understand. If everything works well, the complexity is hidden from view and people working in various parts of organization can seamlessly work together. But if things go wrong… you will appreciate deeper understanding of what makes it work. This is why we wanted to create the blog post series on the subject.

In this article, we will discuss how Free/Busy works in an Exchange Hybrid configuration. In next blog post, you will learn what are the most common problems along with how we go about diagnosing those (often) complex issues.

So, what is Free/Busy? Free/Busy is a feature that allows you to see when others are free (their calendar shows availability), busy (their calendar shows them as busy), or even Out of Office, or Something Else (tentative or working away) so that you can find an appropriate time for your meetings. Calling it all “Free/Busy/OOF/Something-Else” didn’t sound so cool to marketing hence “Free/Busy”. In a Hybrid deployment, we usually have some mailboxes in Exchange On-Premises and some mailboxes in Exchange Online (users are in different premises) and this has to work there too. Continue reading → Demystifying Hybrid Free/Busy: what are the moving parts?

Create an Office 365 Backup Policy

backup-cloud-button.jpgDon’t get stumped by a request to recover deleted email messages in Office 365. Know what Microsoft offers, and plan ahead to stop mailbox content from performing a disappearing act.

Some Office 365 adopters assume a move to Microsoft’s cloud comes with automatic data protection. But administrators must prepare backups or find out the hard way when messages and other important material are lost — with no chance of recovery. Continue reading → Create an Office 365 Backup Policy

Security and compliance in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is built on the Office 365 hyper-scale, enterprise-grade cloud, delivering the advanced security and compliance capabilities our customers expect.

Teams is Tier C-compliant at launch. This includes the following standards: ISO 27001, ISO 27018, SSAE16 SOC 1 and SOC 2, HIPAA, and EU Model Clauses (EUMC). Within the Microsoft compliance framework, Microsoft classifies Office 365 applications and services into four categories. Each category is defined by specific compliance commitments that must be met for an Office 365 service, or a related Microsoft service, to be listed in that category.

Services in compliance categories C and D that have industry-leading compliance commitments are enabled by default. Services in categories A and B come with controls to turn on or turn off these services for an entire organization. Details can be found in the Compliance Framework for Industry Standards and Regulations. Teams also supports Cloud Security Alliance compliance.

Teams also enforces team-wide and organization-wide two-factor authentication, single sign-on through Active Directory, and encryption of data in transit and at rest. Files are stored in SharePoint and are backed by SharePoint encryption. Notes are stored in OneNote and are backed by OneNote encryption. Continue reading → Security and compliance in Microsoft Teams

Office 365: ADConnect synchronization interval changed automatically…

In Azure AD Connect, the default synchronization interval is set to 30 minutes during installation.  In the majority of cases, 30 minutes is an appropriate balance between getting changes to Office 365 in a timely fashion, keeping the export set small enough to be effectively transmitted, and not overloading the on premises directories or Azure Active Directory.

The configuration of the Azure AD Connect synchronization schedule can be viewed using Get-ADSyncScheduler.

PS C:\> Get-ADSyncScheduler

AllowedSyncCycleInterval            : 00:30:00
CurrentlyEffectiveSyncCycleInterval : 00:30:00
CustomizedSyncCycleInterval         :
NextSyncCyclePolicyType             : Delta
NextSyncCycleStartTimeInUTC         : 1/23/2018 2:58:30 PM
PurgeRunHistoryInterval             : 7.00:00:00
SyncCycleEnabled                    : True
MaintenanceEnabled                  : True
StagingModeEnabled                  : False
SchedulerSuspended                  : False
SyncCycleInProgress                 : False

  Continue reading → Office 365: ADConnect synchronization interval changed automatically…

PowerShell Core 6.0: Generally Available (GA) and Supported!

From MSDN blog

PowerShell Core 6.0 is a new edition of PowerShell that is cross-platform (Windows, macOS, and Linux), open-source, and built for heterogeneous environments and the hybrid cloud.

First and foremost, thank you to all of our amazing community, especially our open-source contributors (the most recent of which you can find on our community dashboard at https://aka.ms/PSGitHubBI) for donating your time and energy to PowerShell Core. Whether you contributed code, tests, documentation, issues, or even just your feedback and opinions, we are extremely grateful for the sweat and tears that you’ve invested in PowerShell. (For those interested in contributing, hop and over to our Contribution Guide on GitHub. You don’t have to be a guru to help out!)

Continue reading → PowerShell Core 6.0: Generally Available (GA) and Supported!