Need to Know podcast–Episode 79

In this episode I speak with Scott Hoag all about Azure and Office 365. We talk about what Azure is, how it works in a business and how it integrates with Office 365. Scott also shares his insights about Azure when it comes to Amazon Web Services. He also gives us his experience when it comes to utilising Azure Active Directory.

You can listen to the episode at:

or subscribe to this and all episodes in iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send me any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.


Scott Hoag –

Twitter – @ciphertxt

Blog –

Brewery FM podcast –

CIAOPS free email SharePoint training –

CIAOPS Azure course –

Yammer learning path –

Creating a Single Sign on portal using Azure [VIDEO] –

Enterprise Mobility Suite updates for partners –

Microsoft Virtual Academy –

MVA PowerShell 3.0 Jumpstart –

Enabling your Office 365 Azure AD –

Configuring an Azure Single Sign on Portal –

Enabling Office 365 Self Service Password Resets –

Free monthly cloud webinar


We will be holding our regular monthly ‘Ask Us’ webinar next Thursday the 19th of March from 12.30pm Sydney time. You can register to attend for free here:

The format of the webinar is a general introduction, a news update on what’s happening in the cloud at the moment, then a demonstration followed by an open question and answer session. I am working on getting another cloud services to come along this month and provide a demonstration of what they are offering. Hopefully more news on that soon.

These webinars are recorded and made available to Cloud Business Blueprint members to view on demand. You can access this along with all the other great content we have in our members forum by subscribing here:

I really hope you can come along to this months webinar and I’d really love to see you become a member of Cloud Business Blueprint and enjoy all the benefits and be part of our community.

Some changes to SharePoint Online


If you have been using Office Online with SharePoint Online via Office 365, you may now notice that the menu structure has changed as you can see above. The majority of options now appear on the right rather than the left.


You can see the old menu structure above with the menu options on the left.


When you actually go in and edit a document with the new interface the familiar Ribbon and menu structure return as shown above.

I find it interesting how menu items move from one side or the screen to the other (and perhaps they are testing to work out the best option??) but if you remember the changes from SharePoint 2007 to 2010 to 2013 you also saw that familiar left, right, left changing of navigation. Most interesting.

The other interesting change that is being reported on OneDrive fro Business only (at this stage), by fellow MVP Benoit Hamet over on his blog:

is that there is now an option to Move or copy a folder or file as shown above in a image from Benoit’s article.

I currently don’t see this option in any of my Office 365 tenants, but I’ll keep an eye out for it as it is a handy feature and makes using OneDrive for Business, at least, more like traditional Windows Explorer on the desktop. Interesting to see whether they bring the same functionality into SharePoint Online Team Sites? Time will tell on that score.

So watch out for these latest updates to SharePoint Online in you tenant soon.

Need to Know podcast–Episode 78

A hybrid cloud solutions takes the best of on premises and combines that with the best from the cloud. The result is a really cost effective solution for SMB. In this episode I’m joined by Windows Server MVP Boon Tee, to discuss exactly that.

We cover products like Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, Office 365 and Azure. Boon shares with us his experiences and thoughts around what makes the most sense when it comes to hybrid cloud.

You can listen to the episode at:

or subscribe to this and all episodes in iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send me any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.


Boon Tee Blog –

CIAOPS free email SharePoint training –

CIAOPS Azure course –

CIAOPS blog post ASR –

The security issue

This to me is why we have such a major problem trying to secure our technology.

As usual I was looking through the major new sites and saw this:


Now, my first impression is that this is something serious affecting only Microsoft Windows and Microsoft isn’t fixing it! Gulp.


So you get paragraph in and you find out that the vulnerability affects basically anything running iOS, Android or Windows. So it isn’t really just a Microsoft vulnerability now is it? Especially when you use the word ‘ubiquitous’ now is it?


Read a bit further and it says that security experts say it isn’t a ‘terribly big issue’ as you see above.

So we have, in my opinion, gone from a sensationalist headline where the world is about to end due to a cyber security threat to something that really ‘isn’t a big issue’.

Seems to me that this article is simply ‘click-bait’ and does not really take a responsible approach to cyber security. I agree that it is in the mainstream media but that is my point, this story is going to read by lots of plain technology users and to me it doesn’t convey the right message. It is either going to freak them out that they are insecure or lull them into a false sense of security because of the ‘crying wolf’ aspect of the reporting.

Again, this is simply my opinion and you can read the whole article at:

and judge for yourself. I understand that mainstream media is a corporate entity that needs to focus on profit but our dependence on technology and how it is secured is so critical to our society these days that there must be a better way of getting the right message out to the right people to make them safe.

What do you think?

The Business of Yammer

A little while back I spoke at the Sydney Office 365 users group about the business benefits of a tool like Yammer. This post provides a summary of the major points of that presentation as well as making the slides available for download from:

This first video should highlight why email is not a collaboration tool. Email is best used for private one to one interactions, not one to many that could public. The main difference here is simply visibility, it is a lot easier for people to work together when they can all see the information in one place.

If you have a think about how you communication to day, at work or at home. Then stop and think about how your kids or the younger generation communicate. Chances are your kids are not big users of email or the phone but prefer Facebook and SMSing. Now look at your business, it is going to be composed of a range of individuals who prefer and use different methods of communication. Has your business every given you guidance on what forms should be used for what? Unlikely. Without guidance people use the communication methods and medium they are most comfortable with, not those that their recipients are most comfortable with or the ones that make most sense for collaboration.

Ask yourself if you really understand what social networking is. Ask yourself what you use personally and what your business uses. Chances are that you doing use social networking in either context. Chances are you only see it as something that proliferates pictures of cats that look like Hitler.

Another important point to remember in discussions about social networks is that it no longer limited to people. With the dawning of the age of the Internet of Things there will be a growth of devices talking to each other and sharing information. So social networking is a critical components of our technological world as we move forward.


What I love about this picture I stole from someone is the fact that it is providing guidance on how they want their employees to communicate. The simple ability of having corporate information and conversations made public make it far easier to use the power of search to locate relevant data. Why is that important? Because information has value.

Too much time is spent inside organisations currently siloing information. The worst culprit for this is email and most employees would tell you they are overloaded with email to the point where it actually makes them less productive. Remember, your inbox is generally a priority set by someone else which does little but destroy your productivity.

Stop and think about the bulk of emails your receive everyday. Do they all need to be private? Could they in fact be posted in a common area? What happens to email when people leave an organisation? They may get archived somewhere but are they ever referred to? Doubtful but if that information was public and searchable then it would continue to provide value for everyone. Why? Because making information public means making it searchable and search is technology’s killer app.

So where do new employees go to find information now? Who do they go to when they need help? Many businesses today want to be more social but struggle to understand how to do this. Don’t forget that a business is more than just its employees. It includes customers, suppliers, partners and so on. Any concept of social should also extend here.

Although perhaps a bit saccharine, the above video provides an excellent business example of how social provides business benefit in solving a problem. It is also interesting to note that:

1. Most of the interactions take place outside the traditional office


2. Most of the interactions happen on mobile devices

So, when you think social you also need to think mobile.

So what is Yammer? It was launched in 2008 and sold to Microsoft in 2012 for $1.2 Billion. It is a cloud only solution (i.e. there is no Yammer server on premise you can install). There is a free version anyone with a business email address (i.e not @hotmail or can sign up for. The Yammer Enterprise version is free of all Office 365 Suites:


So basically Yammer is laid out like many other social networks. There is a newsfeed in the center of the page. On the left are the groups you belong. On the right you see information about recent activity, people to follow, files and so on. In the top right is the search field along with the more options menu (i.e. the three dots). In the bottom left is the network link that allows you to move between all the different networks you belong to.

The major take away from the above video that Yammer provides is the ability for anyone inside a company to be heard and contribute. Here you have someone working at the coalface with customers having direct input into the latest version of a product. That not only makes the product better but it also makes the employee feel much more involved and engaged with the business. All from simply being social.

Yammer is now part of Office 365 and can be purchased stand alone or part of all suites. It is also directly integrated with SharePoint Online to allow conversations around documents to take place (i.e. no more sending yucky attachments via email). It also provides behavioural information to things like Officegraph and Delve to help surface more relevant information based on usage patterns.

The above video highlights how Yammer provides opportunities to those inside a business. It flattens traditional corporate structures and provides reach and visibility across all areas. It also critically allows two normally disconnected parties to connect and interact.

So how can you get started with Yammer? Sign up for a free account at, complete your profile, join some relevant networks, introduce yourself (i.e. don;t be shy) and then start following people and topics. If you are looking to utilise Yammer via Office 365 the recommendation is to keep the free Yammer account separate from Enterprise Yammer.

if you plan to set up Yammer Enterprise with Office 365 remember you’ll need to have publically accessible website that matches the domain you are signing up for. The Enterprise version will give you more features and control. You can link it external Yammer networks (i.e. those outside your organisation) but there are some integration limits at this point in time that will disappear as Yammer becomes more and more integrated. Have a look at this previous blog post for information on Yammer via Office 365:

In summary, social is the way we are moving when it comes to communications. Look at how your kids communicate if you want an inkling of what the future holds. This requires a different approach from what most businesses have traditionally become comfortable with. Social allows collaboration across the length and breath of the organisation as well as up and down the entire structure. The integration of Yammer into Office 365 will continue to grow over time so there has now never been a better time to start implementing social within your business.

Successful businesses understand the benefits and power enterprise social networking provides. It is not a fad, it is something that is only now beginning to change the way humans and technology interact. No matter how big or how small and organisation is, tools like Yammer (which are now part of all Office 365 suites) provide the power to improve productivity and offer incentive to all employees but the only way to know is to start using it today. Be social, be mobile and work like a network.


Yammer moments –

Activating Yammer Enterprise for Existing Office 365 E subscriptions –

Work like a network –

Billy’s yammer – 

Shawna’s Yammer moment –

Hotel room keys –

Add and Manage users on Yammer –

Need to Know podcast–Episode 77

In this episode I speak the David Perks, CEO and founder, of successful Australia cloud and software developer Within Reach Software. We learn how the new app model from Microsoft along with the migration of collaboration software like SharePoint to the cloud have provided David’s business a huge opportunity to grow beyond Australia.

Developing for products like SharePoint Online provide a standard platform on which David can now roll out his software to any tenant in the world. We discuss how custom software and apps are added to SharePoint Online platform and how, if you already have Office 365 you can take advantage of these today.

You can listen to the episode at:

or subscribe to this and all episodes in iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send me any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.


Within Reach Software

Docusign –