What is SkyDrive Pro

I see a lot of questions out there about what SkyDrive Pro actually is. I have documented it before but here’s some updated links and information.
SkyDrive Pro is part of SharePoint Online (via Office 365) or SharePoint Server 2013 on premise. Here I will deal exclusively with SharePoint Online and as such referring to it as SkyDrive Pro Online.

SkyDrive Pro Online is designed for personal storage of documents in the ‘cloud’ and is available with all Office 365 plans that include SharePoint Online.
What is SkyDrive Pro?
[VIDEO] – SkyDrive Pro
By default it includes 25GB of storage space per licensed user which can be upgraded currently to a maximum of 100GB per user.
There is also free SkyDrive Pro client sync software for:
Windows
iOS
Windows 8
Android
This client allows you to access SkyDrive Pro Online documents on your device.

For Windows devices, this client, also provides the ability to maintain an local (off line) copy that is sync’ed with SkyDrive Pro Online.
Sync libraries using SkyDrive Pro
Store, sync and share your content
Store, sync and share your content [PDF]
Summary
– SkyDrive Pro is completely different from SkyDrive.
– SkyDrive Pro is ONLY available via SharePoint 2013 on premise or from Office 365.
– SkyDrive Pro Online is designed as a per user personal document storage area which starts with 25GB of space per licensed user.
– SkyDrive Pro Online storage can be increased up to 100GB per user.
– SkyDrive Pro client is available on various platforms and allows easy access to SkyDrive Pro Online documents from devices.
SkyDrive Pro includes built anti-virus and anti-malware protection.
– SkyDrive Pro is a personal SharePoint Document Library.

BPOSExtranetFlag feature missing

In a previous post I wrote about how you can create a site template in SharePoint that you can reuse over and over. Unfortunately, that was not the case recently.

When recently attempting to create a new site using an old template the following message was displayed.

image

What this basically means is that a SharePoint feature was available when the template was created but is no longer available when the template is is used at some later date. This is because when you create a SharePoint template it has a look at the current environment and remembers what features where enabled.

Normally you see this when you create a template in one site collection and then move it to another site collection which doesn’t have the same features enabled. Strange thing in this case is that the template was begin used in the same site collection in which it was created. Also, nothing had changed in the site in relation to features so this error was puzzling.

Biggest problem was that a new sub-site could be not created from this template due to the missing feature. The even bigger issue was I couldn’t locate where this feature was in SharePoint to try and enable it

Now, given the name of the feature BPOSExtranetFlag, I had a suspicion that it referred to something that had been removed after upgrade of Office 365 (as BPOS was the original name for Office 365). Was that then something Microsoft removed?

Before we get into the why let’s cover off how I managed to resolve the issue. Now what basically needs to be done is for the SharePoint template file to be modified so that the reference to the BPOSExtranetFlag can be removed. A SharePoint template file is saved as a .WSP extension, but if you rename it to a CAB file and use an unzip program you can get to the files inside. Rather messy.

A better option is here from Office 365 MVP Rene Modery:

http://modery.net/powershell-script-office-365-site-template-updater/

Basically, you can strip out the reference using a PowerShell, which I used. The new template was uploaded to the site and everything worked as expected now.

Beyond this however, the cause of this issue gives me concern. Why? Well I don’t have confidence any more in recommending to people they create SharePoint site templates. Why? Because they may find down the track that they can’t use them because a features has been removed by Microsoft without their knowledge.

The only information I can find about what happens with Office 365 updates is here:

http://community.office365.com/en-us/wikis/office_365_service_updates/974.aspx

and unfortunately it doesn’t mention anything about the BPOSExtranetFlag feature being removed. Without this I don’t have the confidence to create templates because the underlying structure could change rendering my templates unusable. Sure, I can solve the problem using PowerShell but that’s not something average users can do is it?

There needs to be a better solution here from Microsoft. Either allow templates to be created WITHOUT the inclusion features somehow or provide some simple tool (maybe via the SharePoint apps store) that can remove depend features from templates.

For the time being I therefore recommend that instead of creating templates you create a blank subsite you wish to have as a template and leave it empty and template it as you need it. That way, with the original site still present, your template will always work. If you create a template and delete the original site (like what happened in this case) you’ll either have to use PowerShell or recreated your original site. Not fun either way.

Saving a SharePoint Online site as a template

image

Let’s say that you’ve created a SharePoint Online site that you want to save and potentially re-use elsewhere, or even in another Office 365 tenant. You can save all the structure and potentially all the data by creating a site template. Here’s how you do that.

image

Select the cog in the top right of the site to display the menu shown above. From this menu select Site Settings.

image

In site settings select Save site as template from under the Site Actions heading on the right.

image

Now give your site template a File Name, a Template Name and a Template Description.

You will also notice that you can check the option to Include Content if you wish. With this unchecked the template will only contain the structure of your site i.e. the document libraries, lists, look and feel, etc. However, if you check this option then all the data within these libraries, lists, calendars, etc will also be included.

image

If everything went to plan then you should see a message confirming that the template has been created and stored in the solution gallery.

You can access the solution gallery by selecting the hyperlink on the page or at any stage using via the Site Settings option as detailed previously. Here I’ll select the hyperlink to navigate directly to the gallery.

image

In the solution gallery you should find your newly created template (with the NEW icon next to it) plus any existing templates.

This gallery holds solutions (templates and custom code) that is available across the entire Site Collection.

What happens if you want to migrate this new template to a completely different site collection? Easy.

image

Firstly, click on the template name and save the download to your local machine.

image

Navigate to the solutions gallery in the destination Site Collection and select the Upload Solution button from the Ribbon Menu. Locate the file you just downloaded from the source solution gallery (it will have a .WSP extension typically) and upload it into the destination.

image

Once uploaded you’ll see the Activate Solution dialog window displayed as shown above. You are unable to use solutions until they have been ‘activated’. To do this simply press the Activate button on the Ribbon menu.

image

You should now see that the template is Activated.

image

Now if you go and create a new site anywhere in the Site Collection and select the Custom tab in the Template Selection you should see the template name you uploaded as shown above.

If you use this template you will get a new site based off the original template that you created (also potentially with the data it contained if you selected that as well).

You can of course create a new site based off a template at the root of a Site Collection using the method I detailed previously at:

https://blog.ciaops.com/2013/07/using-site-template-with-new-site.html

Easy Office 365 feature comparison

Here’s a handy site that allows you to quickly compare the features across Office 365 plans. You’ll find it at:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/fp123607#!

image

Simply select the options that you want at the top, then the service and finally the plan. The resulting list below will list all the features and whether they are available in your selection.

image

Pretty handy eh? And you know what? I can see it is all built using SharePoint lists. Even cooler!

Bad guys just keep winning

The number of incidents I am seeing of people being infected with the Cryptolocker continues to escalate. Now before I launch into this rant here is information about the nasty:
http://blog.malwarebytes.org/intelligence/2013/10/cryptolocker-ransomware-what-you-need-to-know/
so you have been warned.
But how the hell can this be happening? How the hell can these sorts of things still get through and cause mayhem and destruction? Having lived through Nimda, Code Red, Melissa, Conficker and more, why is this all happening over and over again? Simple, technology is making it easier for the bad guys not harder. Am I the only one who acknowledges this fact?
I have written many, many times about how vulnerable society has become by creating such a dependence on technology. For example:
here – https://blog.ciaops.com/2013/03/a-gift-for-hackers.html
here – https://blog.ciaops.com/2008/07/why-bad-guys-will-always-win.html
here – https://blog.ciaops.com/2008/08/the-bad-guys-win-again.html
and here – https://blog.ciaops.com/2009/08/bad-guys-win-again-part-iv.html
but to name just a few.
And yet, the world seems to be again brought to its knees by a clever piece of code that is able to slip past all the ‘so-called’ filters, scanners, protection mechanisms and what not that are supposedly put in place. How is that? How can people still be clicking links and attachments they know nothing about? And why is everyone paying so much for what seems like so little protection? Is all this supposed ‘security’ actually making things worse by providing people with a false sense of security?
Simple, the weakest link is the wet-ware behind the keyboard (i.e the human being). People simple don’t have any concept of the security risk they face on ANY device that is connected to the Internet or that receives email. And you know what? That is just about every single technology device we have today. EVERY SINGLE ONE. What is being to educate people about IT security. Not much from what I can see. That is the REAL problem here.
The modern world continues to place its unmitigated faith in the march of technology, obvious to the underlying risks and fragility it is creating. It also lives with this naive assumption that whatever is done on the Internet is also anonymous. They likewise jump up and down when they find out that the NSA is monitoring email traffic. Like DUH, emails have ALWAYS been sent in the clear so ANYONE could read them, DUH. It demonstrates how removed from technology the average person is. They happily use technology but have no IDEA how it works. That is always a dangerous recipe.
It makes NO difference where your information is. In your Office or in the cloud, if you are connected to the Internet you are vulnerable, full stop. The problem is others are also on the Internet so if you get infected then there’s a chance you’ll infect them. We are now more than ever all connected together and what happens in one place can have a huge impact thousands of miles away INSTANTANEOULSY.
To me most of this anti virus software and filtering is a complete and utter waste of time. Don’t get me wrong, I have a certain set of tools and programs I use but my main weapon to remain secure is to concentrate on scaring the crap out of everyone I know (especially my family), constantly reinforcing what maladies will befall them if they click on something they shouldn’t. Does that make them paranoid? You bet it does, but you know what? I am pretty sure none of them are going to get infected with this latest virus because they are more scared of me than this virus. Sometimes that’s what you gotta do keep people secure.
So what’s the point of this post? Firstly, it is to express my utter disbelieve in the existing security ‘industry’ that charges users billions of dollars every year and yet somehow fails to protect them. Is the problem the software or those charged with maintaining them? Hmmm… I could go on but secondly, it is to say that these problems are only going to continue because we are not dealing with the root cause – the idiots who click on unknown attachments and files sent to them. Here’s my golden IT security rules for idiots that MUST be followed under pain of death:
1. Backup, backup, backup. That’s not being repetitive it means back your stuff up at least 3 times.
2. If it seems too good to be true then it is. That means, that if there is any doubt then there should be no doubt.
3. If you don’t know, then ask.
I long for the day when society takes IT security seriously and develops solutions to EDUCATE people on how they vulnerable they really are every time they access the Internet. Am I being paranoid, I sure am, because you know why? Only the paranoid survive when it comes to security. I’m paranoid and I’m proud of it. That is why the machines I look after don’t get infected. Sure, there is never 100% surety when it comes to dealing with human beings but you know what? Paranoia goes a lot further in my books than most of this other ‘so called’ protection I see out there today.

Review–Targus rotating case for iPad

Full disclosure – the review unit was supplied by Mobilezap. You can find this device and others at the Mobilezap category page at:
http://www.mobilezap.com.au/34783-targus-rotating-leather-style-case-for-ipad-4-3—black.htm

You snap your iPad easily into the plastic holder inside the case and then you can use it on the go or at your desktop, all with this case.
What I really like about this case is the fact you can easily rotate the iPad and use it as a stand both in landscape and in portrait. It is quiet sturdy so it makes an excellent addition to any desktop environment. You can then swivel it around and use the case like a normal folio when you are on the road.

I also like the quality of the case, which is typical of Targus products. It has a nice leather feel to it on the outside and the inside is felt lined. The case has a number of ridges into which you can prop the device when you want to use it on your desktop to get just the right viewing angle along with an elastic strap to prevent the case swinging open when you are travelling.
It would have been nice if the case was a little thinner and perhaps had a locking mechanism to prevent the iPad from swivelling unexpectedly. As a business user I’d also like to see more storage locations in these types of cases. Somewhere for business cards and notepaper would be great, although this unit does a pen holder which is handy.
Overall a great unit for your iPad, high quality and suitable for the desk or out on the road.

Sharing of infected files

In my last post I noted how Office 365 prevents you from uploading infected files. I got to wondering what happens when the other file sharing services try and share an infected file.

image

If I try and attach an infected file directly from my local machine to an email in Google Apps it is detected as shown above, which is good, and prevents that file being attached.

image

But since I can also attach from Google Drive as well, I can attach the infected file (since I can upload into Google Drive as my last post highlighted). This is not good.

image

Now you’ll see that with Google Apps the attachment is really shared via a link rather than attaching the actual file from what I see. Any email system worth its salt will detect and quarantine an attachment that contains a virus, so let’s just eliminate from our considerations. But, if instead I send a link to an infected document what happens? I know the email will reach the users (because it isn’t infected).

image

So here’s what the user sees. If I click the link to the file I see:

image

Now if I try and download I get:

image

That’s good, but remember here I am dealing with a .com file that includes a virus.

So let’s assume I am a little more cunning in my attempts to infect a user I place the infected file inside a ZIP archive. What happens?

image

As you see, Dropbox allows me to send a public link to the encrypted file where anyone can download it. This means that your only defence typically here is now the local anti virus software which we know all users always keep up to date right? (if you believe that then you live in world of unicorns, leprechauns and perpetual rainbows). Not good!

image

Now if I share the same ZIP file using Google Drive and attempt to download it from the File menu.

image

It is blocked like before which is good, BUT look at this:

image

If I download it from the drop down option at the end of the file

image

It downloads! Not good, especially give this the default that users see when they view the link provided. I also find it strange that one way you get one result (i.e. blocked file) while the other way you don’t. Strange.

So what’s the moral here? Best bet is don’t let the file get up to file sharing platform in first place, which is why I reckon Office 365 is a much better bet when you start digging into what can happen as I have done briefly here.

All file sharing systems are not created equal.