Learn, Connect, Explore. Everything you missed from Microsoft Ignite

For the unlucky few that were unable to put their out of office on this week and head to Microsoft Ignite (The Tour) London, don’t worry. Our team of Microsoft gurus have composed a list of need to know releases to make sure you’re getting the most out of Microsoft’s new features and innovations. Here’s a CloudM Cheat Sheet of all the biggest announcements from days one and two of Ignite, London.

Collaboration enhancements to Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams is one of the core applications available in Office 365, bringing together the wider offerings to enable collaborative working, all from one platform. It’s seen a lot of updates at Ignite as it continues to innovate, so here’s what you can expect to see in 2020.

Early 2020 will see a new integration added to Outlook that will allow emails to be shared to Teams. A new Tasks pane will also be added that centralises Outlook tasks, To Do, Planner and Teams channels into one place within Teams, making users even more productive. Pop-out windows for Chat and Meetings are also on the way so you can continue working in your main Teams window while messaging or joining a meeting in separate windows.

Privacy is also magnified in this year’s updates, with private channels being introduced, allowing users to create a new channel under a Team to which only selected viewers have access.

Finally, there will be a major overhaul of Yammer so expect new integrations released throughout the year.

Azure AD accounts become even more secure.

Microsoft always has a keen eye for security, and this year its top priority is to make it super easy for you to secure your Azure AD accounts. In fact, it’s the main reason they’ve invested so much in building the passwordless sign-in options like Windows Hello and the Microsoft Authenticator app.

Starting later this month, MFA will be enabled as a security default in all new Azure Active Directory tenants for Office 365, Dynamics, and Azure. Customers will now have the ability to enable MFA for free with the Microsoft Authenticator app, and this feature will now be available for all users, not just admins.

Azure AD Identity Protection has also evolved, with new capabilities and detections that are now generally available! This is a huge step forward across all our User and Entity Behavioral Analytics (UEBA) capabilities with added and enhanced signals, massively improved APIs for integration with your Security Operations Center (SOC) environments, and a new user interface that makes you more efficient.

To help you simplify identity management across your environment, Azure AD Connect cloud provisioning was made available in public preview at the end of November 2019. Cloud provisioning can sync user identities from Windows Server AD forests and Azure AD regardless of where the AD forest is located by using a light-weight agent. These agents are deployed to each forest instance and can sync users into a single, consolidated Azure AD tenant. And multiple agents can be deployed per forest for redundancy and high availability. For complex organizations this can really help employees to collaborate without barriers.

New PowerShell modules for Exchange Admin Centre.

In big news for those of you who write scripts to automate Exchange management, Microsoft have rewritten a set of heavily used PowerShell cmdlets to make them faster and more reliable, especially when dealing with thousands of objects. The key to the exercise is that the new cmdlets are based on a REST API instead of the current Remote PowerShell implementation, which doesn’t scale all that well inside Exchange Online. The new cmdlets won’t appear in Exchange on-premises.

The new PowerShell modules for Exchange are Multi Threading; Track Performances; and Properties and property sets. For more information on this head over to the Exchange Admin Centre Documentation.

Power Platform steals the show.

One of the most popular talking points of Ignite, London was the Microsoft Power Platform, with the Power Apps product taking most of the plaudits. Power Apps is a low-code approach to custom app development, allowing users to quickly create apps with an easy to use 'point and click' interface. The new platform allows users to build mobile-friendly apps quickly and without development knowledge, which is set to dramatically reduce pressure on busy IT teams.

The keynotes surrounding the PowerPlatform were arguably the highlight of the conference. The sessions attracted monumental crowds of IT professionals, that were soon transformed into giddy cheerleaders after being inspired to build their own app and follow in the footsteps of Samit Saini - The Heathrow Airport employee who revolutionised business processes by using the Power Platform to its full potential.

What’s Next?

As the doors close on another successful Ignite event, it’s clear that 2020 is set to be an exciting year for the whole suite of Microsoft products. The spotlight for the year ahead seems to focus on safeguarding your account to make your data as secure as possible, while building an environment that breeds productivity and provides even easier opportunities for your teams to collaborate and automate.

CloudM are proud to be Gold sponsors of the Microsoft Ignite Tour, which means the fun doesn’t stop in London. The CloudM team will be following the Tour across the globe in order to help as many users as possible unlock the power of Office 365. We’re looking forward to meeting those of you who will be lucky enough to attend Ignite Sydney, Ignite Amsterdam or Ignite Berlin.

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