Need to Know podcast–Episode 191

Brenton and I get you up to date with all the most important announcements from Microsoft Ignite. You’ll hear about the new Microsoft Virtual Desktop services, improvements in OneDrive, and some exciting updates happening with Microsoft Stream. Throw in a Windows 10 update with news about Azure and there isn’t enough to cover everything in one episode. All this and whole heap more on this special Ignite update on the Need to Know podcast.

Take a listen and let us know what you think –

You can listen directly to this episode 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.




Windows 10 1809 update

Top learnings from Microsoft Ignite

Password-less sign-ins

New in Teams

CIAOPS Patron price changes

I am letting people know that I will be raising the entry prices for my CIAOPS Patron program from the 1st of January 2019. However, every one who is already in the program before that date will be grand fathered in at their existing rate.

Thus, if you have been thinking of jumping on board to take advantage of all the great resources that are available as apart of the program such as detailed Office 365 and Azure notebooks, a private community forum, access to online training and more, well now is the time to act. You can read more about these resources here:

If you join the program before the 1st of January 2019 you’ll not only receive all the existing benefits but all the new ones I plan to start rolling out in the new year.

If you work with the Microsoft Cloud, particularly Office 365 and Azure, then you are going to get loads of benefits from this program. It is really the best way to stay up to date with the Microsoft Cloud, all in a single location.

I hope to see you inside the program soon. Don’t hesitate, join the other successful Microsoft Cloud professionals who are already part of this program.

Absorbing content from Ignite 2018

One of the biggest challenges with events like Microsoft Ignite is simply the sheer scale of information presented. There is no way that you can see everything you want, let alone absorb it all in the time.

The great thing is that apart from Microsoft Live Streaming everything for those like me that weren’t there but they also record it and make it available at:

On demand sessions

Simply search for the session, title or topic that you want. The video content actually ends up on YouTube on the Microsoft Ignite channel. However, at the moment, the sessions from Ignite are unlisted so you need to know their direct URL.

As I did with Ignite 2017 I have created a list of all the session URLs on YouTube and posted that on my GitHub here:

There currently are not many sessions in the list but I’ll continue to add them as I go along, so make sure you book mark that location. Also, if you find a link to a session please send it to me so I can include it.

Now one of the other things I like to do is go and grab all the slides from the sessions and upload them to my SharePoint site so I can search them if needed. There is great PowerShell script here:

That will allow you to grab all the slides and all the videos if you want. The script is also smart enough to determine what you already have if you re run it as you can see –


and you may need to do this as all the content is not up there just yet. I’ve managed to grab about 1,115 or 1,620 sessions so far but I’ll be running the script a few more times over the next couple of weeks to make sure I get everything.

It’ll take me a a full 12 months to go through all these sessions but it is worth the investment and kudos to Microsoft for making all this content available to anyone and everyone.

More interesting news from Ignite 2018

Here are some more announcements from Microsoft Ignite 2018 that caught my eye:

Office 365 / Microsoft 365

Announcing new Microsoft Forms features at Microsoft Ignite –

Introducing Multi-Geo in SharePoint and Office 365 Groups –

SharePoint powers teamwork in Office 365 – Ignite 2018 announcements –

What’s new in Microsoft Stream – Ignite 2018 announcements –

Beginning in October, employees can watch videos on the go with the Stream mobile app for iOS and Android, with support for offline viewing.

Passwordless phone sign-in with the Microsoft Authenticator app (public preview) –

Microsoft Whiteboard is now available for more devices –

Whiteboard on iOS –


Private preview of Azure VM Image builder –

Azure monitor alerting just got better –

Move Managed Disks and VMs now available –

Introducing Azure Functions 2.0 –

Top learnings from Microsoft Ignite 2018–Day 1

Here’s what caught my attention on Day 1 of Ignite 2018:

1. Windows Virtual Desktop

Windows Virtual Desktop gives you a Windows 7 or 10 desktop on Azure –

“Access Windows Virtual Desktop for free if you’re a Microsoft 365 E3, E5, or F1 customer or a Windows E3 or E5 customer—you only need to setup or use an Azure free account to quickly deploy and manage your virtualization environment. Pay only for the virtual machines you use and take advantage of options such as Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances.”

2. File on demand for Mac

Try files on demand for Mac –

3. Microsoft Learn

Microsoft Learn –

4. OneDrive updates

Beginning later this year, automated transcription services will be natively available for video and audio files in OneDrive and SharePoint using the same AI technology available in Microsoft Stream. While viewing a video or listening to an audio file, a full transcript (improving both accessibility and search) will show directly.


Leverage intelligent search with the Microsoft Graph in OneDrive and SharePoint to find audio and video that contains specific words or phrases the same way you search across documents.


Use keywords found in transcribed audio and video can be used to kick off workflows in Microsoft Flow. For example, any content that contains a specific keyword can be copied to a marketing folder for that product.

“We are pleased to announce that you’ll soon be able to sync folders from multiple Office 365 tenants on both PC and Mac.” – From <>

5. Staffhub to be retired

Microsoft Staffhub to be retired –

6. A mobile app for Microsoft Stream is coming

Beginning in October, employees can watch videos on the go with the Stream mobile app for iOS and Android, with support for offline viewing. From <>

7. Azure SMB files just gets better

A new era for Azure files –

Today, we are pleased to announce the preview of Azure AD authentication for Azure Files SMB access. This feature allows the native preservation of Windows access control lists (ACLs) on Azure file shares. It also enables end users to access Azure file shares through an Azure AD Domain Services joined machine with Azure AD credentials.

Azure AD authentication for Azure SMB file access now in public preview –

8. New Azure exams

AZ-200 = Microsoft Azure Developer Core Solutions

AZ-201 = Microsoft Azure Developer Advanced Solutions

AZ-202 = Microsoft Azure Developer Certification Transition

9. New Office 365 (I suspect Microsoft 365) exam in March 2019



What will Day 2 bring?

Ignite 2017 sessions on YouTube

With Microsoft Ignite 2018 just around the corner I know there is always going to be a huge amount of content and no way that I can be across all of it immediately. Luckily, Microsoft has been recording these sessions and posting them up to YouTube for later review. This has allowed me to work through many sessions over the year to improve my knowledge.


Unfortunately, there is not a single directory of all the session recordings in YouTube, at least not that I know of, so I have created and maintained a list of these sessions as I worked through them. I’ve now made my list of the Ignite 2017 sessions available via my GitHub repository at:

Simply find the session that you are interested in a hopefully I’ve managed to capture the link to the session on YouTube. If you know of any sessions that aren’t listed let me and I’ll add to my catalogue.

Personally, watching the pre-recorded sessions gives me some benefits I don’t get attending in person. Firstly, I generally watch the sessions at 1.5 speed which allows me to get through more sessions. I’m also able to have my own Office 365 or Azure tenant up in another window and be following along with what I see being presented. I also get the ability to pause the session and come back later as YouTube keeps track of my history. Also, as I watch session YouTube suggest more sessions like the one I’m watching, so discovery of new relevant sessions becomes much easier once you start getting into it.

I plan to do the same for the Ignite 2018 sessions when they become available but I’ll start doing that immediately and posting into a new file in the same repository. So keep an eye out for that one coming soon.

Even after 12 months, I haven’t been able to get through everything but I do have to say thanks to Microsoft for making all this content freely available for those that couldn’t attend.

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 189

This is our follow up episode with Marcus Dervine from Webvine speaking about Digital Transformation. We continue with the transformation pillars that Marcus has outlined in his as the road to successful adoption of technologies like Office 365. Of course Brenton joins me again to catch you up on all the cloud news. We’ve tried to keep the update as short as we can as we noticed that the episodes are getting longer. We’ll do a deeper dive into updates in the next episode as we wanted to make sure there was plenty of time for our guest.

Take a listen and let us know what you think –

You can listen directly to this episode 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.





Marcus’s book – Digital Transformation, from the inside out (use coupon code CIAOPS for 20% off)


Azure outage

New file template management

Mass delete notification

Passwordless Login

Windows 10 sandboxing

Windows 10 Quality updates

Using Azure Automation to schedule Office 365 mailbox forward checks

One of the many things I say is that you should not think of Office 365 or Microsoft 365 alone, you should think of incorporating services like Azure as well since they provide a huge amount of additional functionality as I have detailed here before:

Add Azure to Office 365 for more flexibility

As I have also pointed out, I believe you should deploy Azure immediately with Office 365

Deploy Office 365 and Azure together

because until you start using Azure it isn’t going to cost you anything since Azure billing is typically consumption based. That is, you are only billed for what you use.

Now, one of the ways that you can use Azure to take advantage of the automation abilities it has. This is really handy when you want to run repeated process. One such process that you should run regularly I believe is checking for mailbox forwards in Office 365 tenants. I have detailed how to do manually this using a PowerShell script here:

PowerShell script to check email forwards

So, thanks to Azure automation we can take the heart of this script and automate it to run regularly against our tenant and provide an email report on which mailboxes have forwards enabled. Thus, Azure Automation allows us to automate the execution of PowerShell scripts to make life easier.

To enable all this you are going to need to use an Azure account with a paid subscription. It doesn’t have to be the same tenant as the Office 365 one, it just has to be a tenant with a paid subscription because there are costs (very slight) to running Azure Automation.


Once you have logged into you Azure tenant locate the Azure Automation Accounts and select the Add button in the top left to create a new account to use.


Give the new Azure Automation Account a name, paid subscription, resource group and location. Then select Create.


Once created, you’ll see an overview of the new account as shown above.


From the menu on the left locate Modules and select it.


Because this is a new automation account it will only have the standard PowerShell modules included. We need to go and add the one for Office 365.

We can find the Office 365 PowerShell module by selecting the option to Browse gallery from the buttons across the top on the right.


Do a search for “online” and the first result should be MSOnline as you see above.

Select this module to add it.


You should now see more detail about the module displayed. Select the Import button at the to of the page to include that module in this new Automation Account.


In a few moments you should get a message letting you know the module has been imported successfully. Remember, you only need to do this once for any new Automation Account that you wish to run commands against Office 365.


Return to the list of items for the Automation Account and locate the option for Credentials and select it. It is a few below the Modules one you just selected.


Select Add a credential at the top of the page.


Now enter the user details for the user who is going to login to the Office 365 tenant when executing the script. This will typically be a global administrator that doesn’t have MFA enabled on the account. The credentials are stored securely in Azure and will be accessed with the name of the credential account you used (here m365B555418).

Generally, you will only need one set of credentials in your Automation Account but it is possible to have as many as you want for performing different tasks.

Select Create to complete this process.


From the Automation Account menu locate Runbooks and select it.


From the menu across the top select Add a runbook.


Select the option to Create a new runbook. Give the runbook a Name and select the type as PowerShell. Then select Create to establish the area for your code.


This should then take you to an editor where you can enter your code as shown above.

Rather then re-inventing the wheel you can use my code here:

which you can just copy and paste in place.


With that done, your screen should look like the above.

A few things to note here. Ensure that you change the name in the first line of the code to match the name of the credential you created earlier because it is from here that the login details for the Office 365 tenant will be sourced. You will also need to change email addresses on the last line of the script to match your environment. Remember, if you don’t I’ll know who it is!

The code is pretty short and sweet. All it does is look for any account that has any sort of forward enabled and sends those details through. If no forwards are found you’ll also get a message indicating that.

Feel free to modify and improve the script as you see fit, this version is simply designed to demonstrate what is possible.

When you have finished editing your script, select Publish in the top left as shown. Remember to always do this anytime your code changes or is updated.


You’ll now be taken back to to the Runbook overview. Here, select the Start button in the menu to run the script immediately.


You will now be taken to the Job summary page as shown above. You can check on the progress of the job from the Job Status field as shown.

The job will first be queued and then run.


In a matter of moments the job should complete as you see above. If there are any errors or exceptions with your code then they will be visible in this summary page.


If everything went to plan, you should see an email like that shown above indicating the process has completed successfully.


Each job run is recorded in a log on the summary page as shown above. Clicking on that job will give you more details.


Now, we started this whole process with the aim of automating something so now we need to do this once we have confirmed our script is running as expected.

From the Runbook menu across the top select Schedule.


Complete your desired schedule for this process. Typically, it will be daily as shown above. When you have configured the desired options select Create and your job will now run on that schedule.

You can return to Azure Automation at any time to view and adjust your job but always remember to Publish your code if you make any changes.

Hopefully, I’ve shown you how straight forward it is to use Azure Automation with PowerShell scripting to target regular processes for you Office 365 tenants. There are many, many things you can automate thanks to PowerShell and Azure, so go forth and automate!