11th of the 11th of the 11th we remember

One of my interests is military history and none more so than the Australian battles of World War I in France, so much so that I created a web site that covers the period. You’ll find it here:

Australian Battlefields of World War I – France

As a kid growing up you hear all about Gallipoli but it wasn’t to relatively recently that I started to study what happen after that for Australian troops. My desire was to spread word of these contributions via the web site because the bravery and butchery are beyond belief.

The best example I can give is that during the 9 months of fighting at Gallipoli, Australian were awarded 9 Victoria Cross medals, the highest order of valour. Contrast that to the very last major engagement Australian troops had while on the western front at a place called Mont St Quentin.

The result was that three weakened Australian Divisions were able to defeat five German Divisions. The action saw its fair share of heroics, with eight VC’s awarded, and losses, with 20% of attacking forces becoming casualties. The battle was a true infantry victory achieved without the use of tanks or creeping artillery barrage.

During that ONE engagement that last around day, 8 (yes 8) Victoria Crosses were awarded to Australian troops. Now how many of you have ever heard of Mont St Quentin? Certainly not I until I started to study it.

Engagements like these are perfect example of why we need to pause and remember all those who have fought and died for the benefits we take for granted today. They are perfect examples of why we need to remember the impact that war has not only on soldiers but on their families. They are perfect examples of we need to remember the impact conflicts have on the civilian population and surrounds.

So on this 11 day of the 11 month we pause to remember the impact of those who served and those affected by conflict. Hopefully, one day we’ll all learn to live together.

SharePoint Online Email Alerts

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Email alerts allow users to receive a notification in their inbox when something changes in SharePoint. Alerts are available on most SharePoint apps such as calendars, contacts, lists and so on. In this case we’ll look at configuring an email alert on a SharePoint Document Library.

The first step is to navigate to the location within SharePoint where you wish to configure the alert.

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If you then select the Library tab in the top left of the page this should reveal the Ribbon Menu as shown above.

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You need to locate and select the Alert Me button in the middle of the ribbon in the Share & Track section.

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This will reveal a drop down menu as shown above. Select the Set alert on this library option to continue.

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This will open a new dialog like that shown above.

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You can now customise what the name of this alert will be called using the Alert Title box at the top of the page. Best practice is always to make it as meaningful as possible.

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The Send Alerts To box should already be populated with the name of the current user. You can add additional names here if you have the appropriate security settings, however it is generally best practices for users to individually configure their own alert settings.

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If the option is available it may be possible to configure the alert to be sent via SMS, in which case you would need to enter the mobile phone number. However, in most cases you will select the E-Mail option.

The email address to the right will automatically be taken from the Office 365 profile of the current user.

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Depending on the frequency of change that occurs in this location you may wish to not receive alerts for every change that occurs. You can use the Change Type selection to determine what you wil be alerted to. Remember that the default All changes option means you will receive an email alert when anything changes in that location, that is when new items are created and when items are changed and when they are deleted.

Best practice is to use SharePoint email alerts only to inform you of the important changes that take place in that SharePoint location. Having the frequency of alerts set too high can result in a significant volume of emails. Best practice is therefore to start with the most infrequent option and increase the frequency as required.

You can of course edit and adjust any of these alert settings at any point in the future.

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The Send Alerts of These Changes option allows you to further customise the frequency of receiving alerts from this area. Again, best practice is always to set the least frequent alert option and adjust if required.

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The final option allows you to determine when an email will be sent informing you of the changes you selected previously. Electing to be alerted immediately can be very distracting when set on an area in SharePoint that is changing regularly. In most cases best practice is to set the option for a daily summary.

When you select either a daily or weekly summary you will be prompted to enter a time when the alert will be delivered. The suggested times for a daly summary are either first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening.

Once you have made all the desired configuration changes, scroll down to the bottom of the page and select the OK button to save you changes.

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You should immediately receive an email notifcation confirming the settings that you have just configured. If you did not receive an email firstly check you junk e-mail folder and then verify the configuration settings via the process above.

This email is your confirmation that your alert settings for the area in SharePoint have been set. The email should provide a link to the area in SharePoint that you configure the alert on (here Demo) and a link to where you can change all the alerts you have configured for the SharePoint site.

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Now when an appropriate change is made to this area you will receive an email advising you of the change as shown above. These notification emails are not sent instantaneously, they are sent by a regular job that runs on the SharePoint server every few minutes so they may take a few moments to appear in your inbox.

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As noted previous, it is generally best practice to avoid using many emails alerts with SharePoint as the volume of notifications can become overwhelming. You can return to the Alert Me button at any location and select the Manage My Alerts option.

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You will then see all the alerts you have configured across yoru SharePoint site. You can select and delete any you wish easily or by simply clicking on the name of the alert you can modify its configuration.

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Not only can you create an alert on an app inside a SharePoint Team site but you can also create an alert on an single item, in this case a file in a Document Library.

In this case you select the individual file in the Document Library and then File tab in the top left of the window to reveal the Ribbon Menu as shown above.

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In the middle of the ribbon you will again find an Alert Me button you can select. Once selected you will follow through the same process as outlined previously about setting an alert, only in this case the alert will be on a single item in SharePoint.This single item could be an appointment in a calendar, a single line in a list etc..

In summary, alerts are set on a per user basis and provide a way to let you know, typically via email, when information in a SharePoint location has changed. You can customise these alerts to provide information about varying levels of change, for example, all changes versus just deletions. You can also customise how often these email alerts are sent, immediately versus a daily summary. The notification you receive in you inbox will provide you information about what has changes as well as links to the locations in SharePoint.

Best practice is always to minimise the amount of alerts utilised on a site and their frequency to avoid being overwhelmed with emails. They however, provide an excellent method of being notified when specific SharePoint information changes.

Using Office 365 Rights Management with SharePoint Online

You can protect the documents you save into SharePoint Online so that they can’t be opened by people without the appropriate security. This prevents situations where a confidential file is downloaded from SharePoint Online and then forwarded to someone that it should be for example.

This document control is managed by Azure Rights Management which you can easily enable in your Office 365 tenant for both Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. I have detailed how to enable office 365 Rights Management and use it with Office 365 message encryption previously at:

Office 365 message encryption

So check out that post to find out how to enable right management in Office 365 and then return here to find out how to use it with SharePoint Online.

After rights management has been enable in Office 365 you’ll need to enable it also in SharePoint Online.

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Go to the SharePoint admin center and select Settings from the menu on the left.

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Scroll down the options on the right until you locate Information Rights Management (IRM). Select Use the IRM service specified in your configuration.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and select OK to save your configuration.

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Navigate to the item you wish to protect in SharePoint Online, here a Document Library.

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Select the Library tab at the top left of the page to reveal the Ribbon Menu as shown above.

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On the very right of the Ribbon select the Library Settings icon.

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From the column in the middle of the page with the heading Permissions and Management select the Information Rights Management option.

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Ensure the Restrict permissions on this library on download is checked. Also give he policy a title and description.

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If you select the Show Options link below these description fields you’ll see a number of different options you can use to customise how the rights will be applied to the documents.

When complete, select the OK button at the bottom of the page to save your configuration.

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Basically now when a document is downloaded from that library and opened by someone without appropriate permissions they will see the above message preventing them from accessing the document.

There is whole lot more you can do with rights management in Office 365 but hopefully this post has given you enough to get started on the journey of securing your documents better.

If you found value from this post I’d recommend you take a look at my online training courses at:

http://www.ciaopsacademy.com

where you’ll find lots and lots of courses on Office 365, SharePoint, Azure and more. These courses help support the information I provide here for free and on my YouTube channel, podcast, etc. I appreciate everyone who has already signed up to one of my courses and keep your eyes peeled for more coming soon.

Integrating Azure AD Features with Office 365 online course

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Just uploaded another online course to my training academy. This one is:

Integrating Azure Active Directory features with Office 365

It will show you how to enable you Azure AD inside Office 365 and then use it to brand your tenant, create a web based single sign on apps portal as well as password reset portal. It also covers how to enable rights management in Office 365.

Each lesson in the course includes a training video, download notes and quiz style questions to test your knowledge.

I have also added this course in as a module to my larger

Getting Started with Office 365 Administration

course which now has 10 sections with over 50 video lessons, downloadable course notes and more!

If you don’t follow my social media feeds then you have probably missed that for November 2015 I’m offering the first 15 people who sign up to the Office 365 admin course a 25% discount. That is over $85 off the normal price but only for the first 15 and only for November, whichever comes first. Sign up today to take advantage of the discount before its gone.

Keep you eyes peeled for more courses and discount from the CIAOPS Online Academy.

Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics

If you are wondering what Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics is then take a look at these two videos.

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To learn about how the product works then have a look at:

Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics coming next month

and

Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics public preview now available

If you are looking to purchase the product today have a look at:

Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics Pricing

For most most smaller customers the best way to get the product today is via the:

Enterprise Mobility Suite

However, it is also expected to be part of the new E5 Office 365 license that will be available shortly.

— Update —

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I found today that if you go to the Add-ons for your Office 365 subscription you can purchase Exchange Online Threat Protection as a stand alone extra to your existing Exchange Online mailboxes. That make it easy to quickly and easily increase the security of your email protection with Office 365.

For more details see:

Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection

OneDrive consumer space gets scaled back

In a world where we are use to seeing more it is surprising to discover that Microsoft is limiting the amount of space available in OneDrive consumer. That is until you read this blog post they recently posted:

https://blog.onedrive.com/onedrive_changes/

In essence what it says is that a small number of people have been ‘exploiting’ the amount of storage available in OneDrive consumer to use it for things that it wasn’t really designed for such as storing images of hard disks, entire movie collections and so on.

To prevent this and ensure OneDrive is used as a collaboration tool rather than just a free dumping ground for data Microsoft will start to limit the amount of space available to users of the service. If you want to know how that may affect you I suggest you read the above blog post from Microsoft.

The following quote from the blog post sums it up well and reinforces what I say about all versions of OneDrive:

“OneDrive has always been designed to be more than basic file storage and backup. These changes are needed to ensure that we can continue to deliver a collaborative, connected, and intelligent service. They will allow us to continue to innovate and make OneDrive the best option for people who want to be productive and do more.”

I see so many people trying to shoehorn their whole one premises file server into OneDrive for Business. It is not designed for that and you should not be merely copying all your data to a location that was designed for individuals not teams. You should also not be dumping all your data (much of it unused generally) into a single document library. SharePoint Online (which includes OneDrive for Business) is designed primarily for collaboration. If all you want is web storage then SharePoint Online is probably not the best solution.

I wrote the following article a while back to highlight the appropriate way to consider migrations to SharePoint Online:

The Classic SharePoint Online Migration Mistake

The important thing to remember here is that this recent control of the space available to OneDrive refers to the consumer version NOT OneDrive for Business (for now). However importantly, the takeaway for Office 365 users here is that OneDrive for Business is designed for individual users and is not designed as a general data dumping ground for data.

Go forth and collaborate.