Need to Know podcast–Episode 227

FAQ podcasts are shorter and more focused on a particular topic. In this episode I’ll talk about the recommended process for file migrations to Microsoft 365 collaboration.

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

You can listen directly to this episode at:

https://ciaops.podbean.com/e/episode-227-wide-not-deep/

Subscribe via iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/ciaops-need-to-know-podcasts/id406891445?mt=2

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/ciaops/need-to-know-podcast?refid=stpr

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

Resources

FAQ 4 – Your collaboration structure should be wide not deep

CIAOPS Patron Community

Ignite 2019 sessions on YouTube

Not everyone, including me, is able to get to Microsoft Ignite for various reasons. Microsoft, to their credit, live streams and records the sessions. Eventually, these sessions make their way onto YouTube which is my preferred viewing platform. However, what is missing is a catalogue of the links to each session.

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As in previous years:

Ignite 2017 sessions on YouTube

Ignite 2018 sessions on YouTube

I have started building this index and making it available on my GitHub:

Ignite session 2019 on YouTube

Please note, all the session are not there as yet. I add them as I discover them along the way through the year.

Of course, if you have a link to a session that I don’t have up there yet, please send it along so I can add it and we can all benefit.

Thanks again to Microsoft for doing this and uploading the sessions to YouTube. They are a great source of learning and allows people like me would couldn’t get to Ignite the ability to work through the content.

That COG is pretty handy!

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If you visit the page for your OneDrive for Business, you’ll notice a COG in the top right hand corner of the window as shown.

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If you select that, you’ll see a menu like shown above. Select the OneDrive settings option as shown.

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Here you’ll find a page with a whole lot more options. In this case select the option, Storage metrics as shown.

You should also note that there is a Run sharing report option as here well.

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The Storage metrics option allows you to see a breakdown of the data storage in your OneDrive for Business as shown. You’ll also notice in the top right, the total and used capacity of your data.

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You can drill further into directories by simply clicking on them. The above shows the data break down in the Documents directory below the OneDrive for Business home location.

Microsoft will also be adding more options to the COG over time so make you check there regularly.

Need to Know podcast–Episode 226

Although Brenton is still on holidays you’ll hear him interview Michelle Price from AustCyber in this episode, along with a few updates from the Microsoft Cloud from me.

This episode was recorded using Microsoft Teams and produced with Camtasia 2019

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

You can listen directly to this episode at:

https://ciaops.podbean.com/e/episode-226-michelle-price/

Subscribe via iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/ciaops-need-to-know-podcasts/id406891445?mt=2

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/ciaops/need-to-know-podcast?refid=stpr

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

Resources

Michelle Price

@contactbrenton

@directorcia

Introducing security defaults

Office What’s New Management Preview Updates Now Available

8 new ways to empower Firstline Workers and transform the way they work with Microsoft 365

Announcing Office Scripts (Preview)

Updated Microsoft Online Services Terms are available to our customers around the world

Need to Know podcast–Episode 225

FAQ podcasts are shorter and more focused on a particular topic. In this episode I’ll talk about the recommended process for file migrations to Microsoft 365 collaboration.

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

You can listen directly to this episode at:

https://ciaops.podbean.com/e/episode-225-process-for-file-migrations/

Subscribe via iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/ciaops-need-to-know-podcasts/id406891445?mt=2

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/ciaops/need-to-know-podcast?refid=stpr

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

Resources

Process for file migrations to Microsoft 365

CIAOPS Need to Know Microsoft 365 Webinar–January

laptop-eyes-technology-computer

We are back for a new decade! Yes, it is 2020 and Microsoft 365 webinars continue. This month I’m going to take a look of the some less common services of Microsoft 365 including Forms, To-Do, Whiteboard, Kaizala and more. I’ll have the  the latest Microsoft Cloud updates plus open Q and A as well. Start your year and decade off with a BANG!

You can register for the regular monthly webinar here:

January Webinar Registrations

The details are:

CIAOPS Need to Know Webinar – January 2020
Thursday 30th of January 2020
10.30am – 11.30am Sydney Time

All sessions are recorded and posted to the CIAOPS Academy.

The CIAOPS Need to Know Webinars are free to attend but if you want to receive the recording of the session you need to sign up as a CIAOPS patron which you can do here:

http://www.ciaopspatron.com

or purchase them individually at:

http://www.ciaopsacademy.com/

Also feel free at any stage to email me directly via director@ciaops.com with your webinar topic suggestions.

I’d also appreciate you sharing information about this webinar with anyone you feel may benefit from the session and I look forward to seeing you there.

My software and services 2020

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Here’s last year’s post for comparison:

My software and services – 2019

All my PC’s are running the latest version of Windows 10 (1909) without any issues and none during the upgrade process either. I do have Windows 10 and Office Insider builds happening on an original Surface PC as a testbed. All Windows 10 Pro machines are directly joined to Azure AD and managed via Intune. All machines run no third party AV as Windows Defender is a far better option in my experience. Thanks to Microsoft E5 on my production tenant, I am also using Microsoft Defender ATP at the back end for monitoring and investigation of endpoint threats.

The WD Sentinel DX4000 runs Windows Storage Server 2008 and replacement has been delayed due to the “pending” arrival of the NBN which hopefully will provide better bandwidth. In the mean time I have established a site to site VPN to Azure and have begun moving data into Azure storage. In the end this device will merely function as a backup device but for the time being I need to wait for better bandwidth. Hopefully this year I’m being told.

My two main tenants are an Office 365 E5 demo and Microsoft 365 production environments. The Windows 10 Pro machines are Azure AD joined to the Microsoft 365 production domain. The production Microsoft 365 tenant has Microsoft 365 Business for all users except myself. I have a Microsoft 365 E5 license on which I have configured all the services including integrated PSTN calling via Switch Connect.

I use most major browsers:

– Edge – mainly for logging into my production tenant

– Edge Insider – will soon become my major production browser and is used for production and business websites, like reading Microsoft docs.

– Chrome – I am minimising/eliminating my use of this on existing machines and not installing on any new machines. I want to move away from Chrome totally as soon as possible and get it off all my machines.

Brave – I have become increasingly concerned about the surreptitious tracking that many sites perform, especially when it comes to social media sites. I therefore now do all my ‘random browsing’, searching and viewing of social media sites. I became aware of the extent of tracking when I was adjusting the security settings in Edge Insider and found the following:

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Made me realise that I probably need to take this ‘do not track’ stuff more seriously!

– Firefox – I occasionally use this for testing or isolation but less so now thanks to profiles in Edge Insider.

I have now cranked Edge Insider up to the maximum security level but wanted to isolate the most likely tracking culprits into another browser that was security focused. After some evaluation, I have chosen Brave to be this browser. This is now where I do all the stuff that is more likely to be tracked and now hopefully blocked or at least minimised. I have also set this browser up to use Duck Duck Go as the default search engine, otherwise I use Bing for my production browsers.

Services like SharePoint Online and OneDrive I use regularly both in the demo and production tenant. I have the OneDrive sync client installed, running and connected to various locations on my production and demo tenants. I can now sync across all my different tenants as well as my consumer OneDrive storage. We have come a long way with the sync client!

I used to have  Microsoft Teams which is now my main messaging application. All the CIAOPS Patron resources like the intranet, team, etc all reside in the Office 365 E5 demo tenant but I connect to it on my desktop normally via an Azure B2B guest account from my production tenant. Thus, I can admin the Patron resources in a browser if need be but I get the same experience on my desktop as any Patron would. Handy to know what works and doesn’t work with Microsoft Teams guest access. Thanks to Microsoft E5 and Switchconnect, I also have Teams connected as a phone.

I use Lastpass to keep my passwords and private information secure. It allows me to do things like generate and store unique passwords for each website that I sign up for. It is also available across all browsers on my machine (including Microsoft Edge). I also now also use Lastpass to store secure notes.

The extensions I run in all my browsers are:

LastPass

GetPocket

I use the automation sites If This Then That and Zapier to automate many different tasks. A good example of one of these is automatically publishing to various social media sites. I am now using Microsoft Power Automate more and more for automation and I am still looking to dive deeper using things like Azure Functions in 2020. I have now replaced Socialoomph to post precisely scheduled social media posts with my own solution in  Power Automate.

For my Office 365 and Azure email newsletters I use Mailchimp.

My preferred public social networks for business, in order are:

1. Twitter

2. Linkedin

3. Facebook

The Apowersoft software allows me to display both iOS and Android devices on my Windows desktop which is really handy for demonstrations and presentations.

I also use Yammer extensively but for more specialised roles and thus don’t consider it really a ‘public’ social network, more a private one.

I consume a lot of content from YouTube both for business and personal interest. I also also use YouTube extensively for my publicly available training video training.

Microsoft Office desktop software is still part of my everyday workday via applications such as Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. I use the desktop version of Outlook on my Surface Pro 6 which lives on my desk but I only use Outlook Web App on my travelling Surface Pro 4 device. I could happily not use Outlook on the desktop any more I believe but I still use so I understand the experience for most users. However, I do see the day when Outlook on the desktop begins to lose its appeal.

One of the things I have added to my desktop version of Outlook is a digital certificate that signs every email that I now send. This helps the receiver confirm that the message they have received is in fact from me and that it hasn’t been altered in any way. There are some issues when people attempt to reply to these emails from a mobile device but I believe a fix from Microsoft is not far away.

The key application from the suite for me is OneNote. OneNote is my go to Swiss Army knife for just about everything digital. I use it to capture all sort of data. I even use it as a diary as I have detailed previous here:

One of the ways I use OneNote

The reason OneNote is key is because:

1. Just about everything I put in there us searchable

2. It is freely available across all platforms.

3. All my information is synced and accessible on all devices.

4. It is available on the web or offline if needed.

There are now two version of OneNote, the Windows store OneNote and OneNote 2016. Microsoft have changed their stance on future upgrades to OneNote 2016 desktop which is great to hear and kudos to Microsoft for taking feedback on that score. I am a big user of OneNote on my iPad with the Apple pencil. This combination has allowed me to totally eliminate my paper notebooks for things such as journaling.

I use Pure Text to easily paste information, especially to and from OneNote as only text.

I am now a big Microsoft To-Do user. I use it to keep many tasks and items that I need to follow up. I love how it is available on all my devices and syncs across them all as well. I was becoming a bit worried when it had sat there with no updates for a long while, but that has changed now with heaps of updates being released. I’m keen to see where To-Do goes in 2020.

I use Windows terminal now for things like PowerShell execution and Microsoft Whiteboard for demonstrations and training.

Another key service I use everyday along with Office 365 and OneNote is Azure. Typically, I use it for running up virtual machines that I test various things with but I also use it to backup my local data as well as that of other members of my family using Azure Backup.

Azure desktop backup

I have also now implemented an Azure site to site VPN as well as Azure SMB File storage to start moving my data into. I use Azure Sentinel to monitor all my services and machines in one single console and tell me about any incidents. My plans for 2020 is to keep building out my Azure infrastructure to include Azure AD Domain Services, Windows Virtual Desktop and more. Stay tuned for updates on this throughout 2020.

There is just so much that can be done with Azure and I pretty much use it everyday.

For a subset of my local data that I wish to remain secure I use Truecrypt to create encrypted volumes. All my Windows 10 machines run with full disk encryption thanks to Bitlocker, but stuff like financial and customer data I keep inside Truecrypt volumes for that extra layer of security. I understand that Truecrypt is no longer maintained and may have some very minor security flaws, but for how and why I use it, it is more than adequate.

Production data is also protected using Windows Information Protection which provides yet a further level of protection and extends that to all devices including mobile devices like phones and tablets,

To capture my desktop for my online training academy or my YouTube channel I use Camtasia. I use SnagIt to capture screen shots and add highlights and emphasis to these. Snagit allows me to capture complete screens or specific areas quickly and easily.

I use Microsoft Teams to record my podcasts, which I then produce with Camtasia. These are uploaded to Podbean where they syndicated across various network.

To compose and publish blog articles I use Open Live Writer.

The majority of images I get, like the one at the top of this article, I get from Pexels. Pickit is also another great option.

For improved meeting management productivity I use Microsoft FindTime.

I use Visual Studio Code in which I do most of my PowerShell editing and publishing. The end result typically is my GitHub repository where you will find a range of scripts and other resources that I maintain regular. With Visual Studio Code I can edit publish and sync all my machines and my GitHub repository no matter where I am. Very handy.

Here are also a few of the other items I use regularly that are not for business:

Amazon Prime Video – only place to the latest The Grand Tour action. I also liked the Jack Ryan series and well as the Gymkana Files.

NetFlix – Just added this recently and have found many great documentaries.

XBox Live Gold – access to all the online Xbox goodness.

Duolingo – language learning, Japanese and Italian at the moment

Tinycards – language and facts learning via flashcards. Also handy for certification exams.

So there you have it, the major software and services that I use regularly. I continue to search out additional software that will improve my productivity. If you use something that you’ve found really handy, please let me know and I always keen to explore what works for others.

Moving to the Cloud–Part 1

This year I thought I’d try and embrace as much of the Microsoft Cloud technology that is available. However, I’d try and approach it through the lens of a SMB business moving to the cloud but also lay it out in a staged manner for easier comprehension. This post therefore represents the first in a series of posts that covers the methods and configuration you can take in moving your infrastructure to the cloud.

That said, there is no one single approach or method that will work for all. However, by running through the various options and also explaining what value these may have, hopefully people will get a better idea of all the options that are available. As I said, there isn’t necessarily any right or wrong here, just my thoughts on the approach that I take given typical scenarios I see.

The first thing you’ll need to go and do is get a Microsoft 365 tenant. I’ll cover off what I recommend specifically and why in later posts, but for now, you’ll need to have a tenant.

Next, you’ll need to add a paid Azure subscription to this same tenant. I have detailed about this approach here:

Deploy Office 365 and Azure together

In short, doing so will give you more options and capabilities, especially when it comes to infrastructure. The good news is that you’ll only pay for what you use, so as you build your solution out you can keep costs down.

With you Microsoft 365 and Azure subscriptions in place, I would suggest that the starting point should be a site to site VPN to Azure. This basically extends your on premises network to Azure.

In my situation, I have Ubiquiti equipment so I followed articles like:

Connecting Ubiquiti Unifi USG to Azure via VPN

The Azure Site to Site VPN documentation is here:

Create a Site-to- Site connection in the Azure portal

This article is also handy:

Step by step: Configuring a site to site VPN gateway between Azure and on premises

Given that there are already a lot of detailed documents out there on doing this I’m not going to cover this off here. However, you’ll basically need to:

1. Create a virtual network in Azure.

2. Create a virtual network gateway in Azure and connect to the virtual network you created above.

3. Create a connection from the virtual network gateway in Azure back to your on premises environment.

4. Configure the on premises equipment to connect to Azure.

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When complete, you should have something that looks like the above. There isn’t a lot that you can do with this configuration just yet, but it is going to be the basis for what is used going forward. What it gives us in effect is a single network that spans both on premises and Azure.

Now, let’s consider the costs.

An Azure virtual network is free.

There are a number of different VPN options in Azure per:

VPN gateway pricing

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In this case I’m going to select the Basic VPN, simply because it has enough bandwidth and tunnels, etc for my needs. However, the Basic VPN is typically only recommended for dev/test environments, but to keep costs down here I’ll use that going forward.

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So, if I now use the Azure Pricing Calculator to get an estimate of the costs I get the above (in Australian dollars out of an Australian datacenter). Cost will vary depending on currency and location. You should also note that basically:

1. Data transfers into Azure are free.

2. You get the first 5 GB of data transfers out of Azure for free also.

So my expected initial VPN cost will be:

AU$36.08 per month

for up to 5GB of outbound (unlimited inbound) traffic.

What’s the comparison cost if we step up to the next level of VPN?

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You see that the cost jumps to AU$190.44 per month.

How easy is it to change VPN gateways in azure if you wanted to? Deleting and re-creating is easy, the downside is simply the time taken. This is because the time required to spin up a VPN Gateway in Azure is between 30 – 45 minutes generally. When you do so, you may also get a different external IP address for the gateway, which would mean a change to the configuration of the on premises environment. However, all of this isn’t difficult to do if needed. So for now, I’m going to stay with the Basic gateway because it is all I need and I want to keep costs down.

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When I look at my bill for the month, as it turns out, the cost of the Basic VPN Gateway for the month, shown above, is pretty much what the calculator determined. The variance is probably just a small amount of outbound data that I used. So, you can be pretty confident that the cost of the VPN with less than 5GB of outbound traffic will be a fixed cost per month. We’ll cover how to budget for outbound traffic in upcoming articles, so stay tuned. However, for now, I know I am going to have a fixed cost of AU$36.08 for just my Basic VPN gateway every month. Add that to the budget.

In summary, one of the first steps in migrating an on premises environment to the cloud is to establish a site to site VPN. You can do this easily with Azure and the expected costs for the most configuration is around AU$36 per month. The benefit of this is that you have now extended you on premises network to Azure and can start taking advantage of the services there.

Watch out for upcoming articles on the next stages of this process.