Updates to Setup Microsoft Office 365 Secure Score

We have received a lot of feedback from the Tech Community on how to make Secure Score better and it is greatly appreciated by the team.  When reviewing your feedback and feedback from other organizations, a few requests were coming up regularly.  Some of what we have heard is around the average score that you can compare yours against. In addition, we heard that determining what security controls had changed and influenced the score where hard to track down. Today we are happy to share that we are adding a couple of enhancements to Secure Score to help with this.

Many of you like the idea that you can compare your score to the average score of all Office 365 tenants. However, some have concerns about the relevance of this to your organization. Based on this feedback we have a new average for you to compare against. The average seat size score shows you a score based on organizations that have a similar number of Office 365 active seats. There are seven seat size groups that we put everyone in, 0-5, 6-99, 100-249, 250-999, 1,000-4,999, 5,000-19,999, and 20,000+. For example, if you have 1200 active seats of Office 365 we will show the average score of other tenants that have active seats between 1,000 and 4,999.

 

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Coming soon we will be introducing an industry average score, this will show you how your score compares to other organizations that have designated the same industry in Secure Score or the Service Assurance page of the Security and Compliance Center.

Another enhancement we are adding is around making it easier to find how your score changed between two dates and what the impact was. Previously you had to click on the line graph in the Score Analyzer tab to choose your date and then take a screenshot or try to remember what actions were completed as you clicked on another date in the line graph.  To make this comparison easier, we have added a “Compare scores” option to the Score Analyzer tab.

 

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Clicking this will allow you to select two dates that you would like to compare the scores on. Upon choosing the dates you will get a list of what controls changed between those dates, and whether the result caused an increase or decrease in the score.

 

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Along the lines of making things easier, we know that finding controls in the action list can be a challenge when the list is long. To help find controls faster we are introducing a search field for the action queue. By typing characters in this field, we will filter down the view list to help you navigate to the actions faster.

 

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And finally the reporting actions have had an overhaul. The reports in Azure have under gone a significant optimization in terms of making them easier to consume and more relevant. Previously when using the Azure classic portal there was a direct report and corresponding Secure Score control for that report. Under the new Azure Portal these reports have been consolidated. This blog post explains how the new mapping works and what the previous reports now map to.

Secure Score has been updated accordingly allowing us to reduce the number of Azure report controls to two (whilst still allowing the same points total). These updated controls now take you to the updated Azure Portal.

If you want to check out all these new features, head over to https://securescore.office.com now. As always thanks for all the feedback and keep it coming!

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Windows 10 Now Used on 600M Active Devices

 

 

 

 

 

Microsoft’s annual shareholders meeting was held on Wednesday, and CEO Satya Nadella took the opportunity to confirm that Windows 10 is now in use on 600 million active devices every month.

To give you some idea of the growth rate, back in May at Build 2017 Microsoft stated Windows 10 had reached 500 million active devices. So that’s an additional 100 million devices in six months. As GeekWire reports, Microsoft’s original goal back at the launch of Windows 10 in 2015 was to hit one billion devices within three years. That now seems unlikely.

 The slower than expected rise of Windows 10 on the desktop could be put down to a number of factors including how device use is changing. But a big part of the problem is Windows 7. The latest figures from Netmarketshare show Windows 7 still counts for over 46 percent of the desktop operating system market. Windows 10 sits at just over 29 percent.

If growth continues at its current pace, Windows 10 will hit one billion devices just as we are about to celebrate Christmas 2019. Even so, Microsoft won’t be concerned when you consider its main rivals on the desktop only manage to grab 3.3 percent (Mac OS X) and 2.98 percent (Linux) of the market.

Microsoft needs Windows 10 to keep selling not only to continue its desktop market domination, but also to help pay for the Redmond Campus expansion and planned addition of 8,000 new employees there.

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Microsoft Uses AI to Tighten Word’s Translation Tool in Office Update

The latest batch of Microsoft Office updates includes a built-in translator in Word and search capabilities that help users connect with co-workers and their shared content.

Microsoft Office

Thanks to Microsoft’s accelerated software release cadence, Word now features an improved built-in translation tool that can help users make sense out of documents from their overseas colleagues.

Microsoft is taking a cloudlike approach to software updates, meaning that Office 365 users can expect to see new features and enhancements crop up on a more regular basis. The latest update offers some new tricks for users who routinely use Word’s translation tool to decipher documents authored in other languages.

“We’ve revamped the translation tools available within Word. You can now translate sections of text, or your entire document, and review or save the result as a regular document file,” said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president at Microsoft Office, in a blog post. “Translator supports 60 languages, including 11 that use neural machine translation, providing superior quality and fluency to help you work more confidently.”

Like Google, Microsoft uses neural network systems to improve the quality of translated text, yet another example of Microsoft employing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies across its software ecosystem. The new language features in Word can be found under the Review menu item.

Related Reading

In addition to more flexible translation tools, Microsoft has expanded the reach of Tell Me, the search and support tool in Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Users covered by commercial Office 365 plans can search for people and files across the entire organization, or share their own documents using Tell Me.

Now that Office 365 supports 3D objects, which can be used to spice up Word files or create eye-catching PowerPoint presentations, Microsoft is making it easier to share and organize 3D content using the OneDrive cloud file storage and sharing service. Users can now open and view 3D objects in the OneDrive app. The browser-based OneDrive.com service, meanwhile, supports direct viewing without an added plugin.

Outlook.com users now have a new way to keep tabs on their colleagues. The web-based email application allows consumer users to view LinkedIn profile information without leaving their inboxes.

The MyAnalytics (formerly the Delve Analytics add-on for Office 365) dashboard gains three new charts that can help users maximize their time and strike a better work-life balance. Building on the weekly snapshot visualization that shows users how much time they spend emailing co-workers, in meetings and doing other work activities, a new Trends chart displays changes in those activities over greater stretches of time, allowing users to see how well they are progressing on their work goals.

Another chart, called Your Time Investments, displays a user’s contacts in various “orbits.” Those contacts whose orbits appear closest indicate a tighter work relationship. Finally, the Your Groups chart shows the top six Office 365 Groups in terms of engagement. This video on the new MyAnalytics features provides a closer look.

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Get November Windows and Office updates installed — carefully

putting on a band-aid patch with binary code

The list of complaints about this month’s patches goes on forever. I covered the high points a couple of days ago. We’ve seen people who are running Win10 Creators Update and who specifically said they didn’t want to upgrade to Fall Creators Update get pushed into an upgrade anyway. Those using Epson dot matrix or POS printers lost them for a couple of weeks. Add to that a heaping handful of hooey and there were enough problems to keep most Windows customers shaking their heads. Or quaking in their boots.

I’ve been waiting to see what Microsoft would do with Win10 version 1709. There was an entry in the Win10 Update History listing for a cumulative update called KB 4051963, which would bring 1709 up to build 16299.96, but that entry mysteriously disappeared yesterday.

While waiting, Microsoft released an updated version of the Equation Editor patch. Per @abbodi86, the old versions (KB 4011276 and KB 2553204) only worked with English and Chinese versions of Office. The new patches, KB 4011604 (for Office 2007) and KB 4011618 (for Office 2010), now work with all languages.

We’re starting to see some consumer-grade malware that exploits the Equation Editor security hole, CVE-2017-11882, and that’s the primary reason for getting patches applied now.

.Net Patches

The latest versions of the .Net patches (released two days ago) appear to be working.

Office Patches

Microsoft has a catch-all web page for known (which is to say, acknowledged) bugs in Office patches. In it you’ll find entries for known Outlook problems (“Outlook was unable to recover some or all of the items in this folder” and “View Settings button is missing”), Excel problems (“Errors loading Excel Solver add-in,” “Excel may crash when you try to embed an object into a worksheet”), Word (“Export failed due to an unexpected error”), and OneNote (“This notebook may not sync correctly because another program is syncing these files”).

Surprisingly, there’s no mention on the bug page of a conflict with Dynamics 365 and Outlook, officially called “Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Outlook is unable to render webpages after installing the October 2017 Microsoft Outlook security update.” Avoid this month’s security patch for Outlook 2017 if you’re one of the unfortunate ones who need to use Dynamics 365 for Outlook 2017.

Windows 7 and 8.1 Patches

Microsoft has fixed the bug that clobbered Epson dot matrix printers in Win7 and 8.1. If you install patches this month using Windows Update, the installer will find the right fix, if you need it, and apply it for you. If you manually download and install the Security-Only patch (which I no longer recommend!), and you have an Epson dot matrix printer, you also need to install the fix, called KB 4055038, manually.

Microsoft is still blocking updates to Windows 7 and 8.1 on recent computers. If you are running Windows 7 or 8.1 on a PC that’s no more than a year old, follow the instructions in AKB 2000006 or @MrBrian’s summary of @radosuaf’s method to make sure you can use Windows Update to get updates applied.

If you’re very concerned about Microsoft snooping on you and want to install just security patches, realize that the privacy path’s getting more difficult. The old “Group B” — security patches only — isn’t dead, but it’s no longer within the grasp of typical Windows customers. We’re actively discussing whether it’s worthwhile continuing to post information about the security-only patching path. Microsoft has made that option considerably more obtuse than it was a year ago. If you insist on manually installing security patches only, follow the instructions in @PKCano’s AKB 2000003.

For most Windows 7 and 8.1 users, I recommend following AKB 2000004: How to apply the Win7 and 8.1 Monthly Rollups. If you want to minimize Microsoft’s snooping but still install all of the offered patches, turn off the Customer Experience Improvement Program (Step 1 of AKB 2000007: Turning off the worst Windows 7 and 8.1 snooping) before you install any patches. (Thx, @MrBrian).

Watch out for driver updates — you’re far better off getting them from a manufacturer’s website. After you’ve installed the latest Monthly Rollup, if you’re intent on minimizing Microsoft’s snooping, run through the steps in AKB 2000007: Turning off the worst Win7 and 8.1 snooping. Realize that we don’t know what information Microsoft collects on Window 7 and 8.1 machines.

Windows 10 Patches

If you’re stuck on Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, version 1709, and you want to stay ahead of the malware mavens, you don’t have much choice but to use Windows Update to install KB 4048955 and bring your system up to build 16299.64. Before you do, read the KB article and understand that (1) you won’t be able to print on Epson dot matrix printers, and (2) “Internet Explorer 11 users who use SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) may not be able to scroll through a drop-down menu using the scroll bar.” Of course, if you’re still using IE 11, you have plenty of other things to worry about.

I’m still seeing lots and lots of reports of weird bugs in 1709. There’s an ongoing list on the AskWoody site here. I’ve also seen independent reports of problems with 1709 breaking search in Outlook 2007, as well as reports of folder permissions problems and autostart after boot inanities.

We’re still in the unpaid beta testing phase of Win10 version 1709. You’d be well advised to stick with your current version of Win10 and wait for the cannon fodder to fulfill their destiny.

If you’re running Win10 Creators Update, version 1703, and you want to stay on 1703 while those on 1709 get to eat Microsoft’s dog food, follow the instructions here to ward off the upgrade. As you go through the steps, keep in mind that Microsoft forgot to honor the “Current Branch for Business” setting — golly! — so you need to run the “feature update” (read: version change) deferral setting all the way up to 365. And hope that Microsoft doesn’t forget how to count to 365.

The latest cumulative update for 1703, KB 4055254, build 15063.729, released Nov. 22, has one acknowledged bug, which is the IE 11 SSRS bug mentioned for 1709.

If you’re still on Win10 Anniversary Update, version 1607, you need to be aware of yet another bug — the “CDPUserSvc_XXXX has stopped working” bug which Microsoft finally acknowledged last week. It’s been around for nearly two months. See my discussion here for details.

The latest 1607 cumulative update, KB 4051033, build 14393.1914, is just three days old. Aren’t you glad you waited?

If you’re running an earlier version of Win10, you’re basically on your own.

To get Windows 10 patched, go through the steps in “8 steps to install Windows 10 patches like a pro.”

As is always the case, DON’T CHECK ANYTHING THAT’S UNCHECKED. In particular, don’t be tempted to install anything marked “Preview.” Thar be tygers.

Time to get patched. Tell your friends, but make sure they understand what’s happening. And for heaven’s sake, as soon as you’re patched, turn off automatic updating! Full instructions are in the referenced guides to patching.

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Microsoft Office is now available for Chromebook users through the Google Play Store

Microsoft Office has arrived for Google Chromebook users through the Google Play Store and it will be available free only to users with specific devices, while others will need to subscribe to Office 365.

Chrome OS on a Chromebook. Image; Google

Chrome OS on a Chromebook. Image; Google

A report in TechCrunch late on Monday said neither Google nor Microsoft has made a formal announcement about the arrival. This is the first time Office has been available to Chromebook users through Google Play as a general release, the report said.

In 2016, Microsoft had said that it would make Android versions of Microsoft Office apps available to all compatible devices. Although the Office on Android platform for Chromebook is available, for starters, the ability to run apps on older models is still limited.

In addition, users with devices whose screens are 10.1 inches or larger will need an Office 365 subscription to use the Android app, a report in ZDNet pointed out.

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Officecomsetup.org – Identify business needs and prioritize Microsoft 365 scenarios

This is the third post from our blog series on the four success factors for driving Microsoft 365 adoption.

Check out the other posts part of this series:

Part 1: Enable your business stakeholders with a successful Microsoft 365 adoption
Part 2: Recruit key stakeholders to help with your adoption

In this blog post I will focus on the second success factor – Scenarios, and how to identify and prioritize them, while measuring their impact on your organization.

The true measure of success for your Microsoft 365 adoption, like any change or new technology, will be the value realized by your organization from its investment. Your opportunity with Microsoft 365 is to enable the different Lines of Business (LoBs) and departments in your organization to realize important business outcomes. This requires identifying and prioritizing scenarios – which are the different ways people and teams in your organization can use the capabilities of Microsoft 365 to achieve their goals.

Get started with early wins and build on that success

Our most successful customers typically start their journey with more basic scenarios that have universal appeal across the organization:

Employee Engagement & Communication: Create a sustainable, consistent way for senior leaders to connect with employees, using Yammer as a community to share and engage, and Skype Meeting Broadcast for companywide meetings.
Bring Campaigns to Market Faster: Enable marketers to collaborate with people inside and outside the organization using Microsoft Teams as their shared workspace for communicating and sharing with team members.
Increase Sales Productivity and Grow Revenue: Provide sales teams with a centralized hub with Microsoft Teams for sales planning, real time collaboration on proposals and RFPs, and for managing their monthly, quarterly, and annual business reviews.
Streamline Business Reviews: Help finance move beyond gathering and cleaning data to be able to analyze data with Power BI, and collaborate together on the data in one place with Microsoft Teams.

Once you’ve delivered value with these more basic scenarios, you have more credibility to engage your business stakeholders for custom scenarios that deliver unique value. Think of this value realization motion as a flywheel – score some early wins with cross organization scenarios, and then move on to more ambitious areas of impact for each LoB or department. As you provide more and more impact to the business, more stakeholders will get engaged and the momentum of the flywheel builds and builds.

So, how can you work with your business stakeholders to identify relevant scenarios for their teams to adopt? At it’s most basic level it’s about identifying what the team wants to accomplish, how they can use the technology to accomplish their goal, and what the expected impact of the Scenario is. To help you get started, check out the Microsoft 365 productivity library, where you can discover new scenarios based on your industry and different functional departments.

The IT team leading the Microsoft 365 adoption at Standard Bank – Africa’s largest banking group, has done a great job engaging with the business to identify scenarios that are helping different stakeholders accomplish their goals. Standard Bank dedicated an adoption team within IT to engage with each business unit and functional department to realize unique value with Microsoft 365 in a consistent manner – i) conduct an “art of the possible” session with the team so they can start to envision relevant Microsoft 365 scenarios, ii) workshop scenarios by mapping Microsoft 365 capabilities to the team’s challenges and goals, iii) prototyping and implementing prioritized scenarios, and iv) enabling the business unit to be self-sustainable in their adoption of scenarios and evolving the solutions to suit their needs.

“You don’t need a large team and budget to get going. Dedicate some resources who are passionate about improving the business, who can get in where the work is happening and can assist business users in making the bridge between their day to day challenges and friction points, and the enabling technology that comes with Microsoft 365.

A great resource to help with this is the Microsoft 365 Productivity Library, we’ve used it to help our business discover scenarios and use cases that are relevant to them. Once they see that they can bring different components of the suite together to respond to different needs, they get it.”

To avoid overwhelming end users with too many scenarios at the same time it’s important to prioritize your scenarios based on expected impact and difficulty of implementing. This prioritized list will determine what scenarios get rolled out when.
To measure the success of your Microsoft 365 rollout, it’s critical to develop a set of criteria to evaluate the different scenarios you and your team have implemented. Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you expect will improve based on adopting your scenarios. Evaluate where you are before implementing Microsoft 365 and measure your ongoing progress post implementation. While it’s important to measure and showcase the business value you are providing the organization with your Microsoft 365 implementation, monitoring and reporting on usage helps demonstrate overall adoption levels and areas where improvement is required. The Office 365 adoption content pack is available to gain insights on how your organization is adopting the various services within Office 365.

Success stories are often just as valuable as quantitative measures when demonstrating Microsoft 365 success. Encourage your project team members and champions to identify examples of people and teams using Microsoft 365 to accomplish their goals and everyday tasks. Make sure you share these success stories through Yammer or other internal channels.

Now that you have identified and prioritized your scenarios, it’s time to create internal excitement about the scenarios and ready end users to successfully adopt them. Stay tuned for the next blog post where I will cover the final two success factors for driving Microsoft 365 adoption – Awareness and Training.

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