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How to Create a Test Environment for Office 365

Everybody knows that test environments are a very good idea, providing a safe place to try new features or configuration changes to products, develop scripts and tools, or provide training for your staff. Office 365 is no different, but a lot of customers that I talk to don’t maintain a test environment at all. And many of the IT pros that I talk to also don’t have their own person tenant for testing and training.

For traditional on-premises infrastructure the reasons for not running test environments are usually cost-related. Sadly, it is very common for IT teams to not have the resources such as hardware or virtualization capacity to build a separate environment that is a meaningful representation of their production environment. Continue reading → How to Create a Test Environment for Office 365

Deploy Templates in Azure Stack using PowerShell

In this example, you run a script to deploy a virtual machine to Azure Stack Development Kit using a Resource Manager template. Before proceeding, ensure you have configured PowerShell

The VHD used in this example template is WindowsServer-2012-R2-Datacenter.

  1. Go to, search for the 101-simple-windows-vm template, and save it to the following location: c:\templates\azuredeploy-101-simple-windows-vm.json.
  2. In PowerShell, run the following deployment script. Replace username and password with your username and password. On subsequent uses, increment the value for the $myNum parameter to prevent overwriting your deployment.
        # Set Deployment Variables
        $myNum = "001" #Modify this per deployment
        $RGName = "myRG$myNum"
        $myLocation = "local"
        # Create Resource Group for Template Deployment
        New-AzureRmResourceGroup -Name $RGName -Location $myLocation
        # Deploy Simple IaaS Template
        New-AzureRmResourceGroupDeployment `
            -Name myDeployment$myNum `
            -ResourceGroupName $RGName `
            -TemplateFile c:\templates\azuredeploy-101-simple-windows-vm.json `
            -NewStorageAccountName mystorage$myNum `
            -DnsNameForPublicIP mydns$myNum `
            -AdminUsername <username> `
            -AdminPassword ("<password>" | ConvertTo-SecureString -AsPlainText -Force) `
            -VmName myVM$myNum `
            -WindowsOSVersion 2012-R2-Datacenter
  3. Open the Azure Stack portal, click Browse, click Virtual machines, and look for your new virtual machine (myDeployment001).

New Office 365 Security Score Features

Since Microsoft  announced the general availability of Office 365 Secure Score we the community have been giving them a lot of  feedback on how it could be optimized for our needs.  It seems that Microsoft have listened…two requests that came up regularly were that organizations wanted Secure Score to award points in situations where a control was being met by a third party product and the ability to ignore a control because it was not relevant to them. Based on this feedback  these two options are now available.

Continue reading → New Office 365 Security Score Features

Microsoft drops Office 365 for biz. Now it’s just Microsoft 365

office-appsMicrosoft is squishing its major biz products into a single solution called – wait for it – Microsoft 365, CEO Satya Nadella announced at Inspire, Redmond’s annual event for businesses that flog its wares.

Office 365, Windows 10, and enterprise mobility and security, will be peddled in two flavours: Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Microsoft 365 Business, Nadella said. The latter, which adds device and licence management from a single location, will be available for preview on August 2.
Continue reading → Microsoft drops Office 365 for biz. Now it’s just Microsoft 365