Overview of Office 365 Security

I’ve just completed a roadshow focusing on the security options in Office 365. I certainly cover what is in all plans but I do focus on what is available, and should be implemented, in the advanced plans such as E3 and E5. I also cover how the security in Office 365 can be enhanced using things such as Azure AD Premium, Intune, Azure Rights Management, Enterprise Mobility Suite and more.

The presentation was given to SMB resellers so it also contains some insights from me on how IT resellers can generate revenue for their business while providing greater levels of security for their customers.

Here are the slides:


or via:


I’ve also added the session to my free:

Cloud Lecture Series

at the CIAOPS Academy

Need to Know podcast–Episode 153

Marc and I report on our impressions of the recent Microsoft Build conference. There are quite a few things that caught our eye that we thought we’d like to share with our audience. Everything from CosmosDB to OneDrive on Demand and a few things in between. Get the latest information about all the important stuff for IT Pros from Build along with our thoughts on why they are things that you should be paying attention to.

Take a listen and let us know what you think –feedback@needtoknow.cloud

You can listen to this episode directly at:



Subscribe via iTunes at:


The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:


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




Azure news from Marc

Build Keynotes

OneDrive on demand

Windows Timeline

Cloud powered clipboard

iTunes comes to the Windows Store

Video remix

Channel 9 Xbox preview app

This episode brought to you by: https://cpem.io/tJ01Hzu2k.js

I made my own bot!

After watching the following Microsoft Mechanics video:

and being inspired by the information coming from Microsoft Build 2017 I decided to create my own Office 365 Q and A bot which you can see below.


It is actually live on the Internet right now but I’m going to do more detailed post on how easily I brought all this together when I’ve refined it just a tad more. Once that happens I’ll let you know where you can go to give it a spin and let me know what you think.

Sure, the bot currently has limitations but remember this is just the starting point! I can tell you that it only took me about 30 minutes to get it up and running. I’m keen to see where I can take this concept of an automated bot to answer your Office 365 questions but based on the knowledge based I’ve accumulated over the years. I see a lot of potential here if I can just tweak a few things to make it easy to import the information I have on hand currently.

Hopefully, if I open it up publically it can learn from user inputs and become even better at understanding the question. Again, early days, but I see this sort of things have a lot of application in a lot of businesses. That’s why I’m playing with this now. The future is here.

More soon on the new Need to Know bot from CIAOPS designed to answer your Office 365 questions.

Learning Collaboration in Office 365


A little while ago I announced that I’ll be conducting a new course focused on showing you the best practices when it comes to collaboration in Office 365. This will answer questions about whether you should use Microsoft Teams over Yammer, what roles Groups plays and to drive adoption for your business to ensure that everyone makes full use of the Office 365 suite they have been allocated.

You’ll find all the original information about the course here:

Understanding collaboration in Office 365 course

The course gives you the opportunity to participate in the learning live. You’ll be able to complete the hands on tutorials right there and then. You’ll get immediate feedback on what you’ve learnt and you’ll also be able to ask questions and most importantly get your questions answered right there and then. If you think this is just going to be a boring webinar style presentation, then you in for a shock as nothing could be further from the truth. This course will be more hands on than if you were sitting in a classroom!

Best of all is that all the sessions will be recorded and made available to you, along with all the training materials (notes, links, whitepapers and more) FOREVER! That’s right, you can continue to come back to the course and watch the training at your leisure. You can even download it all and watch it offline. So if you are too shy to attend the live events you’ll still get full benefit from all the material.

Those lucky enough to have signed up already have been able to take advantage of the initial substantial early bird discount, however if you missed that then you need to act now to get a $30 discount. Use the coupon code EAERLYBIRD2 at checkout or click here to have the discount automatically applied upon registration:

Understanding collaboration in Office 365 – $30 discount

Remember, you need to use the link or the coupon code to get the discount.

An additional offer is that if you are not already a CIAOPS Academy affiliate you should sign up so you can offer this course to others and receive a commission. That’s right, just refer this (or any CIAOPS Academy course) to others and you’ll receive a percentage of the course direct to you. To become an affiliate simply sign up for free at the CIAOPS Academy and then contact me (director@ciaops.com) to let me know you want to be an affiliate and I’ll send you all the details and get you signed up asap.

The count down to the course kick off on the 1st of June is on and I’d encourage you to take advantage of this discount before it expires on the 19th of May. Remember, the course includes over 5 hours of hands on training, video recordings of all sessions as well a lifetime access to all the course materials including video replays, course notes, links, white papers and more. All of which you can download and view offline.

If you want to learn how Office 365 can give your business a completive edge by being more effective and productive then sign up today to take advantage of this discount.

I’ll also point out that if you sign up as a CIAOPS Patron you’ll not only receive discounts starting at 25% on this course but you’ll also get access to my private Office 365 Facebook community where you can get your questions answered by myself and other in the community daily. For all the benefits of being a CIAOPS Patron head over to:


I hope to see you on the course with me and those who have already signed up.

Ownership is the key to adoption

It doesn’t matter whether you have the best technology, if people don’t use it then it it totally useless. It is very common for users to have access to a suite of services like Office 365 but rarely use anything more than mere email. Why? Because adoption was not considered something important in the migration and implementation process. I’ve talked about this before:

Stop making your users feel stupid!

The secret to adoption is to take off the technology hat and think like an average user who just wants to get their work done. They aren’t into technology. They aren’t interested in the ‘speeds and feeds’, most are simply interested in being able to do their jobs quicker and easier.

Another key aspect about average users is that they are resistant to change, far more so than those in IT. This means a different process needs to be considered when it comes to introducing new technology to this demographic. One of the major keys, I’d suggest, to successful adoption is fostering ownership.

What do I mean by ownership exactly? What I mean is that users will adopt technology far quicker if they feel a sense of ownership (and control) over what they use. So with a product like Office 365 how does one go about delivering this ownership?



A good example is ensuring that every user has their profile picture set across the Office 365 services as you can see above in Delve. Having your own photo there in Delve immediately gives you a sense of ownership, a place that is ‘yours’ if you may. Having just an outline still makes the system all about IT. It is mere technology. However, with my picture in the profile then the system is ‘mine’.

One suggestion I have for businesses looking to drive Office 365 adoption is to pay for a professional photographer come in take high quality head shots of everyone so they can be used in Office 365. Users can then also use those head shots elsewhere like in Linkedin profiles.

Although most migrations to Office 365 start with email I’m an advocate of implementing Yammer first. Why? Firstly, Yammer has zero infrastructure impact, it is delivered totally via the web. Secondly, it has a mobile client that users can interact with inside and outside the Office (remember the phone is the desktop). Yammer also allows a users voice to be ‘heard’ and encourages ‘water cooler’ style chat online. Finally, Yammer is very much like other social networks that users are familiar with so the barrier to entry is much lower. In essence it becomes a users ‘presence’ in the new environment.

I also don’t recommend starting off with formal business groups in Yammer, I recommend setting up two groups, Social and Office 365 Q & A. Social is designed for general company ‘chit chat’. That is birthdays, best wishes, travel photos, footy tipping competitions and the like. The aim here is to get people using Yammer and comfortable interacting online. If you start with fun, then you are much more likely to see adoption. The Office 365 Q & A area is designed for users to post and share general information about Office 365.

When you implement a pseudo ‘help desk’ like this using Yammer a magical thing happens. For the majority of users it gives them a place they can ‘unload’ their questions and search for answers. However, the magic happens when other users, without prompting, take it on themselves to start answered those questions. Soon you end up with a self supporting help desk and training area in Yammer and all you did was simple tell people how to get there.

After Yammer the next Office 365 workload I suggest you target is OneDrive. Why? Again, because it is ‘personal’ to the user. It is their ‘space’ to upload their own private files. If you force them to go into a Team Site to work initially the change is generally too great. By getting them into OneDrive first you give them valuable experience working with just Document Libraries. This means when you introduce Team Sites down the track they already know something about how to use it, it also looks familiar so it also easier to adjust to and adopt.

After OneDrive then I’d suggest you get your users into OneNote. Show them all the benefits of creating a digital notebooks that is searchable, automatically backed up and available on all devices. Again, the important point here is to start with a personal OneNote for them so they get the feeling of ownership and are not afraid to play around with the technology. This experience will again stand them in good stead when it comes to work with group notebooks.

So in summary, my recommendation on adoption with Office 365 is to make the experience ‘personal’ to start with. I’d also suggest that rather than implementing just emails alone you do things in this order:

1. Email

2. Yammer

3. OneDrive

4. OneNote

That should at least get you started and make your users more open to consuming and utilising the other parts of Office 365, because they now feel some ownership and control of the technology. There will be of course, more adoption work to do but hopefully I’ve given you some ideas on what to focus on to get started and appreciate how successful adoption is about being ‘personal’ rather than being just about technology.

Need to Know podcast–Episode 152

We’re joined in this episode by the chief of Lobster Pot, Rob Farley a Microsoft MVP focused on SQL. However, in this episode we speak to Rob about his experiences in giving a keynote at a recent conference. As Rob explains here, there is far more to a keynote that you think. Luckily we get the low down and all the pointers so stay tuned.

Of course, Marc and I cover off all the latest Office 365 and Azure news to keep you up to date with the latest that’s happening in the Microsoft cloud.

Take a listen and let us know what you think –feedback@needtoknow.cloud

You can listen to this episode directly at:


Subscribe via iTunes at:


The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:


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





Lobster Pot

On keynotes by Rob Farley

Rhino room comedy club

Azure news from Marc

Outlook Customer manager rolling out

Groups now in Mac, iOS and Android

Server 2016 performance tuning

SharePoint Virtual Summit

Microsoft Build 2017

This episode brought to you buy:


Don’t run away, filter for value

A common complaint today, especially in IT, is that it is impossible to keep. The premise is that there is simply too much information to stay abreast of. I am also seeing a growing number of people saying they are ‘quitting’ social media like Facebook because of all the ‘junk’ there. I, on the other hand, am finding huge value from social media, in fact, more and more so from Facebook. Let me show you how I manage that.

Firstly, I have to agree that there is a huge amount of irrelevant drivel on social media BUT you are the one who chooses to consume it. You don’t have to! You are seeing all that irrelevant stuff simply because you have accepted the defaults and have not learnt how to effectively use the social media platforms.

I think this speech by Clay ShirkyIt’s not information overload, it’s filter failure goes a log way to explaining why so many people are becoming overloaded with information. In short, it’s because they are allowing themselves to be. They have failed to implement appropriate filters to remove the stuff that is irrelevant.

Why have people largely failed to do this? The most common reason is FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. To really get on top of your information consumption you need to abandon this concept and appreciate that you may indeed miss something but if you put the right information consumption practices in place the chances of doing so are extremely low.

Once you have abandoned FOMO, then you need to determine the BEST sources of information for you. In the context of business or technology, this means finding information sources that provide you the greatest return on investment for your time. If their value is not high enough then you need to abandon them, without regret.


What’s the difference between my Twitter account and this one say?


Look at how few people I currently follow. Just 18! I only chose to follow high quality information sources and those that I do I consume fully, in that I read every one of their tweets. I have no idea how people can get value from following hundreds or even thousands of people.

Does the Twitter accounts I follow ever vary? Of course it does. I’m constantly adding and removing sources but I have a very high bar to follow an account. It really needs to provide me with information I’m unlikely to get elsewhere. This brings me to another best practice recommendation I have when it comes to social media. Have a separate business and personal account. Lumping everything together is going to generate twice the traffic from very two very different sources. Having two accounts also provides separation when it comes to posting and contributing also.


I am no fan of Facebook, however I recognise the value it has to my business. That’s why I’m there and why I’m using it more and more. However, like Twitter, I highly customise what I see by “unfollowing” low value information sources. Doing so, as you can see above, keeps them as a friend so they see my stuff but I don’t see theirs. Sure, they could do the same to me but firstly, most people generally don’t mute like I’m doing here and secondly, I’m aiming to make my social media content as high as possible so they stay tuned in.

Of course, I have had personal contacts find my business account on Facebook and complain that I only talk about “boring” IT. Right on! Because of the separation of business and personal accounts, my business account is aimed at business users and has content aimed at them not at personal contacts. If you try and be everything to everybody then you are nothing to nobody.

So, if you are “suffering” from information overload it’s time to go on a diet. Become ruthless with exactly what information you consume. If it has no value then DON’T consume it! That’s why I don’t consume a single hour of commercial TV or radio for example. If something doesn’t measure don’t hesitate to remove it and replace it with something better. Get those filters in place and working. Remember, your time is the most valuable commodity you have. Therefore treat it like it is actually valuable!