6 security red flags when identifying the perfect cloud storage solution

For a long time, the cloud was considered the “wave of the future.” But the future has arrived. A great cloud storage solution not only allows your employees access to files anytime, anywhere—it also makes it simple to sync files, work on the go and share and coauthor documents with ease. But more than 50 percent of organizations find cloud storage to be the riskiest cloud app category.

Security red flags when identifying the perfect cloud storage solution FI

A big reason for that? Security threats. Despite all the data out there showing the cloud to be just as or more secure as on-premises storage, security remains the top barrier to cloud adoption, according to the Cloud Security Alliance. That’s why cloud security is one of the top concerns for providers—and why they spend so much capital making sure their products are secure. In fact, by 2019, the global cloud security market alone will have reached an estimated $8.71 billion.

Still, not all cloud storage providers are created equal, especially when it comes to security. Even though it’s important to get a “good deal” on your enterprise cloud solution, it’s more important to ensure the security of your data. When researching cloud storage providers, be on the lookout for those that exhibit the following red flags—and avoid them like the plague:

  • No solid reputation—In this business, like many others, reputation is key. If a no-name company is offering a great price, make sure to investigate testimonials, recent downtime, experience, breadth of services, etc. before signing a contract. Also, remember that a smaller company might not have the capacity to manage your load, give your organization the attention you need or even be in business in five years’ time.
  • Non-HTTPS site—An HTTPS site is essential for proper security, because it secures any requests for personal information, such as forms. In addition, sites not encrypted with HTTPS allow for easy interception of login credentials. If your login credentials are discovered, hackers can access your files, steal your data and do a lot of internal damage.
  • Other security protocols missing—Any decent enterprise cloud storage provider will offer certain protocols, including encryption, which ensures the only people who can access your company’s data are those with proper login credentials. You’ll want a high level of encryption, such that your data won’t be compromised by prying eyes even if the cloud storage provider comes under legal action.
  • Weak privacy statement—When comparing online cloud storage providers, ask yourself, “How committed are they to protecting my data?” Find a service with a strong privacy statement, one that doesn’t give permission for that service to browse your files. Some are more stringent than others. Determine what is acceptable for your organization’s needs and choose wisely.
  • No mention of compliance standards—Meeting compliance standards and obtaining industry certifications demonstrate a provider’s capabilities and offer proof of reliable security. Looking at these certifications and met standards is an objective way of comparing each provider. Examples of compliance standards include ISO 27001, HIPAA, FERPA, FISMA, SSAE 16, PMI and more.
  • Vague service agreements—A cloud storage provider’s service agreements should offer enough transparency that you truly know what you’re getting. A provider should make clear commitments about what security controls it has in place, where data resides and who manages the underlying technology. How can you trust providers to protect your data if they won’t tell you how they plan on doing it?

There is no one-size-fits-all cloud storage solution. Every organization has different needs, and these needs should be reflected in your choice of an enterprise cloud provider. Whatever your solution and whoever your provider, though, security should remain at the top of your list of considerations.

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OneDrive for Business recognized as an EFSS leader and continues momentum with spring updates

Today’s post was written by Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for OneDrive and SharePoint.

OneDrive for Business has made significant progress in the last six months, and was recently named a Leader by Forrester Research in “The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise File Sync and Share Platforms, Cloud Solutions, Q1 2016.” You can read the report here.

It’s an honor to get industry recognition like this, but we know there’s always more for us to do to improve the service. Today, we’re announcing important improvements and new capabilities in our sync, browser and mobile experiences, as well as new IT controls for administrators.

New features added to the Next Generation Sync Client

In December 2015, we released the first version of the Next Generation Sync Client, which we now refer to as the new OneDrive sync client. The new OneDrive sync client has dramatically improved sync reliability and performance and contributed to tremendous growth in OneDrive for Business total storage and active usage.

Starting today, we’re rolling out an update to the client which addresses the most common feedback we received on the first release. This update brings the following enhancements and new features:

  • Windows 8.1 support—This completes our commitment around Windows OS support (7, 8, 8.1 and 10).
  • Office 2016 integration—In conjunction with an Office 2016 update currently rolling out, key features such as real-time co-authoring, open documents from the Most Recent list and share documents from within the Office app will be available.
  • Improved setup—Now it’s easy for anyone to get and install the new OneDrive sync client. No more registry keys needed on Windows or Terminal window on Mac!
  • Seamless client migration—If you are running the previous sync client (groove.exe), this update seamlessly transitions without requiring a resync. For full details go here.
  • Pause sync—A handy feature when you want to suspend syncing for a period of time, like when you are tethered to your phone or using Wi-Fi on an airplane.
  • View files online—You can now right click any document in Windows Explorer and select “view online” to navigate to the OneDrive for Business file or folder in the browser.
  • Sync any file type you want—We’ve added support for .json, .aspx, .swf files and more; you can now add any file type to your OneDrive for Business.
  • Block file types—IT admins can now block certain file types from syncing, such as PST or MKV files protecting limited bandwidth.
  • Performance and reliability improvements—Give small files in particular a big boost in upload and download speed.

Most of these new capabilities will be available to all customers within 1–2 weeks, the Office 2016 integration (including the associated Office 2016 update) and Pause sync features will continue rolling out during the course of the summer. There are additional sync updates to be rolled out later this year:

  • Manage bandwidth—By the end of June, we’ll deliver IT controls to throttle bandwidth consumption of the client.
  • Extended Windows Explorer integration—A simple right-click action to get a link or share files directly in Windows Explorer.
  • SharePoint Document Library Sync—We’re adding SharePoint Online document library sync, starting with a preview in the third quarter of 2016, with general release by the end of 2016.

Browser experience enhancements

We’re introducing a simple way to remove files and folders from the “Shared with me” view in the browser experience. Removing an item from the “Shared with me” view doesn’t delete the file; it can still be found via a search, so it’s not lost if you need to get back to it.

OneDrive for Business recognized as an EFSS leader and continues momentum with spring updates 1

Easily remove items from your “Shared with me” view.

Sharing with people outside your organization is now a whole lot easier!

We’ve streamlined the process for an external recipient who doesn’t have an Office 365 or Microsoft account to open files you share with them from OneDrive for Business. Now, anyone without an Office 365 or Microsoft account who receives a file invitation just needs to enter an email address or phone number and a password, then confirm their account (one time only), and they’ll have access to the file.

Simplified creation of a Microsoft account.

Driving mobile productivity further

This update is a big one for our iOS and Android apps! We’re integrating Outlook mobile with OneDrive for Business, so you can share files through email on both iOS and Android—this update will roll out in the coming weeks.

OneDrive for Business recognized as an EFSS leader and continues momentum with spring updates 3

Composing an email on an iPhone and attaching a link to a OneDrive for Business file is quick and easy.

We’ve introduced a richer sharing experience in the OneDrive app for Android, including a fantastic new PDF viewing and annotation experience and an embedded Office Lens experience. You can now take a photo of the whiteboard after an important meeting and have it automatically converted to a PDF file and uploaded to the OneDrive for Business folder of your choice, in one simple process. We’ve included support for Office 365 Data Loss Prevention (DLP). This builds on the DLP integration already in the browser experience. This update will start rolling out today and be available to all users within a week.

OneDrive for Business recognized as an EFSS leader and continues momentum with spring updates 4

In the OneDrive app for iOS, we have a new, richer sharing experience including SMS, Mail, Outlook Mobile, Copy Link (both Edit and Read-only links), Invite People and others. You can also save files to OneDrive for Business from any iOS app. As with the Android update, this iOS update also supports Office 365 Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies defined by your organization. Again, this update will roll out to all users in the next week.

OneDrive for Business recognized as an EFSS leader and continues momentum with spring updates 5

This iOS update has much richer sharing options for OneDrive for Business files.

New insights, governance and controls for IT

One of the great things about Office 365 is the ability for IT to get an unprecedented view of what’s going on with your critical business data across email and files. We recently started to roll out a new reporting portal in the Office 365 admin center, where you can see key usage metrics for all of your Office 365 services including OneDrive for Business.

OneDrive for Business recognized as an EFSS leader and continues momentum with spring updates 6

Comprehensive usage reporting across Office 365 services is now available.

In addition, along with making external sharing easier for end users, we’re also giving IT administrators more controls over who their users can share with. For example, perhaps your organization is OK with files being shared with external parties, but doesn’t want employees to share files with certain organizations, such as direct competitors. Now, IT administrators can set up a list of domains that people can share with or a list of blocked domains (but not both). This new capability is currently rolling out and will be available to all OneDrive for Business customers by the end of April.

OneDrive for Business recognized as an EFSS leader and continues momentum with spring updates 7

Setting a list of domains that users can share with.

In September 2015, we rolled out the ability for end users to define an expiration date for an anonymous or guest sharing link. Now we’ve added the ability for IT to set a tenant policy (RequireAnonymousLinksExpireInDays) that makes expiration dates mandatory for anonymous or guest links and assigns default expiration period (e.g., 7 days). Users can still set an expiration date that is shorter, but not longer, than the default period.

OneDrive for Business recognized as an EFSS leader and continues momentum with spring updates 8

The user experience if they try to set an expiry date beyond the organization’s policy.

New developer options for OneDrive for Business

We know that one of the keys to having a productive and useful collaboration space is a powerful and flexible platform to build on. There are a number of new options for developers who are building apps that connect to OneDrive for Business, including Webhooks preview, where developers can easily get push notifications to changes occurring in OneDrive for Business, an updated file picker for JS, Enhanced flexible sharing via the OneDrive API and App folders on OneDrive for Business. The developer options for OneDrive for Business are constantly getting richer and more flexible. We are excited about the solutions our partners are building and the breadth of solutions available. You can check out examples of these partner solutions on the OneDrive for Business ecosystem page.

There’s always more to come!

So there you have it, some great new capabilities for everyone who uses the service or manages it. What’s great is that you can get started with almost all of this today! This new set of capabilities marks another step forward in the value that OneDrive for Business provides as a key component of your Office 365 investment. As always, give us your feedback on UserVoice and make sure you check out the Future of SharePoint and OneDrive event on May 4, where we’ll have more OneDrive for Business news to share—don’t miss it! The event will be available on demand after this date as well. There’s so much more to come with OneDrive for Business in 2016—stay tuned!

—Jeff Teper

6 tasks ideal for the cloud—cloud storage and beyond

It’s no surprise that the cloud has become a not-so-secret weapon for many organizations, yielding the potential for greater flexibility, higher productivity and decreased upfront investment and cost. For many years, a lot of businesses held out on using the cloud for security reasons and other concerns. However, recent data shows that cloud use is increasing. According to RightScale’s fifth annual State of the Cloud survey, hybrid cloud usage increased from 58 percent in 2015 to 71 percent in 2016. Not only that, 17 percent of enterprises have more than a thousand VMs in the public cloud as compared with 13 percent in 2015.

6 tasks ideal for the cloud FI

For many, the phrase “cloud computing” is synonymous with “cloud storage,” and it’s understandable why that’s the case. The Cloud Security Alliance’s Cloud Usage report determined that cloud storage was the cloud app category with the highest number of apps. This category was also considered to be the riskiest. But the cloud is about a lot more than enterprise cloud storage.

Here are six other ways the cloud can be used by businesses:

  1. Mobile workspace—The cloud gives any company the tools necessary to allow employees to work from anywhere. That’s because email and any important documents can be uploaded and saved to the cloud—so work can actually be accomplished in the cloud. File sharing is another huge reason why the cloud enables a mobile workspace. When your organization uses a hosted cloud environment, it has a place to upload large or sensitive files that you prefer not to send via email. Some cloud storage providers also make it easy to edit documents as a group (even simultaneously!) using familiar tools.
  2. Email—Because email is considered a mission-critical application in today’s business world, it needs to be reliable. When you use the cloud (instead of hosting your own exchange server), gone are the worries about server uptime and email capacity. A service provider keeps your email running and often offers lower costs than hosting a traditional server in your office would.
  3. File backup—It’s imperative that organizations keep copies of their files—especially since you never know which documents, emails, etc., will prove to be valuable. Old backup systems included the use of physical discs or tapes that had to be shipped to a storage facility once full. Using online cloud storage allows for reliable file backup that’s also effortless and convenient. This is especially helpful when you’re moving offices or changing equipment, and it certainly helps to guard information against natural or manmade disasters like a flood or fire.
  4. Website hosting and eCommerce—In today’s fast-paced society, no one wants to wait for a slow website to load. When you host your website and online store in the cloud, the downtime is drastically reduced—and often nonexistent. Furthermore, the cloud is scalable, especially if you have a reliable enterprise cloud storage provider managing your services. That means that you can easily deploy extra resources in expected high-traffic times, such as during holidays or major sales.
  5. Testing and development—When your IT team needs a QA environment for a new product line or app, save money and effort by using the cloud. There your team can test load time and run simulations to see how an application would work in real time—but without actually going live or having to maintain a separate QA environment.
  6. Business apps—The cloud has the ability to host your favorite business applications, giving your employees the ability to work anytime, anywhere. When considering cloud storage providers, be sure to select one that can host a plethora of business apps, whether customer relationship management, logistics and planning, analytics and more.

Maybe your organization is using the cloud but isn’t taking full advantage of its abilities. Focus on making your investment in the cloud count—and that means going beyond simple cloud storage.

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Office 365 integration and updates to Dynamics CRM

Last May, we highlighted how Office 365 and Dynamics CRM work together to help boost productivity. Now, with capabilities spanning Office 365 Groups, the Office Graph and inherited Protection Center controls, the integration goes much deeper.

This week, Microsoft Mechanics goes hands-on with the latest Dynamics CRM to highlight Office 365 integration for sellers, admins and developers. Eric Boocock from the Dynamics team joins me to demonstrate how CRM creates Office 365 Groups to improve collaboration and how you can access CRM data in the context of email with the Outlook add-in. The updated experiences can also leverage Azure Machine Learning to create cross-sell recommendations and Cortana to report interactive insights from Windows 10.

Of course, the new experiences go beyond what CRM users see; for administrators the Office 365 user management controls also extend to security and compliance for CRM-generated data. Eric shows how you can enable:

  • Office 365 Groups to automatically generate new groups.
  • Document Management to build SharePoint and OneDrive folder structures.
  • Office Graph to help users find trending files.
  • Advanced information protection and compliance controls in the Office 365 Protection Center.

Beyond that, you can now deliver CRM Online via Azure ExpressRoute for predictable network performance, availability and data privacy—just like with Office 365—and there’s even more on the horizon. Check out the show to see and learn more.

—Jeremy Chapman

OneDrive for Business update on storage plans and Next Generation Sync Client

Editor’s note 12/17/2015:
The Next Generation Sync Client for Mac is now available in the Mac App Store. Additionally, the iOS app update that adds offline file support is now available too!

Today’s post was written by Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for OneDrive and SharePoint.

Today, I’d like to share an update on our OneDrive for Business storage plans, the availability of our Next Generation Sync Client and several other new capabilities we’re delivering in our December update.

Storage plans

Office 365 customers on our premium Enterprise, Government and Education plans will receive OneDrive for Business unlimited storage. Specifically, this includes unlimited storage for individuals in organizations with more than five people subscribing to one of the following plans:

  • Office 365 Enterprise E3, E4 and E5
  • Office 365 Government E3, E4 and E5
  • Office 365 Education
  • OneDrive for Business Plan 2 and SharePoint Online Plan 2

We will begin rolling out increased storage to these customers by the end of this month, starting with an automatic increase from 1 TB to 5 TB per user. We expect this rollout to complete by the end of March 2016. After this point, customers who want additional storage can request it as needed by contacting Microsoft support.

Customers on all other Office 365 Enterprise, Business and standalone plans that include OneDrive for Business will continue to receive 1 TB of storage per user. While customers on these plans will not receive the full unlimited benefit, we expect it will serve the vast majority of users. Today, most OneDrive for Business users consume significantly less than 1 TB.

Overall, we have taken too long to provide an update on our storage plans around OneDrive for Business. We also recognize we are disappointing customers who expected unlimited storage across every Office 365 plan, and I want to apologize for not meeting your expectations. We are committed to earning your business every day by delivering a great productivity and collaboration service and improving our communication approach.

Next Generation Sync Client for Windows and Mac

After a successful preview program, we are happy to report that the OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client is now available for deployment. Our top priorities for this release were improved reliability and performance, as well as delivering core capabilities such as selective sync, support for large files up to 10 GB in size and removing the 20,000 file sync limit. For IT Professionals, we’ve provided the ability to silently deploy and configure the client on behalf of your end users. The OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client is available for Windows 7, 8 and 10 (8.1 support will be added in the first quarter of 2016) and Mac OS X 10.9 and above. The Windows client is available today with the Mac client being available before the end of December 2015.

With this first release, the Next Generation Sync Client supports OneDrive for Business only, but we will add support for SharePoint document libraries in future releases. In the interim, if customers require sync for both OneDrive for Business and SharePoint document libraries, the Next Generation Sync Client is designed to work side-by-side with the existing sync client.

Additionally, we are actively working on other important features including Office integration to support the co-authoring of documents and sharing scenarios (planned for the second quarter of 2016), as well as a more seamless experience for users who are migrating from the existing sync client (planned for the first quarter of 2016). Go here to learn more and get started.

Mobile updates

In addition to updates on our desktop offerings, we have several improvements for our mobile apps. First, we recently released a new OneDrive app for Windows 10 Mobile. This app offers all the essential capabilities to view, edit, delete, share and upload files onto both your personal OneDrive and OneDrive for Business storage services.

OneDrive for Business update on storage plans 1a OneDrive for Business update on storage plans 1b

Users can easily manage their files and folders on their Windows 10 Mobile device.

A range of required actions such as view, edit, delete and share are available for the user.

We are also happy to announce the OneDrive for iOS app will support offline storage. You can selectively flag files for local availability and open them when disconnected. The updated app will be available before the end of December 2015. We first released offline storage on Android in September 2015 and will take this same capability to Windows 10 Mobile in the second quarter of 2016.

OneDrive for Business update on storage plans 2a OneDrive for Business update on storage plans 2b

You can select one or more files to take offline.

All offline files can be accessed through a single view.

Lastly, Office Lens for iOS now supports uploading your content directly into OneDrive for Business. Office Lens is essentially a mobile scanner that lets you to take pictures of printed documents, business cards, expense receipts and even whiteboards, with automated cropping, trimming and searching of those images. We will add OneDrive for Business support to Android and Windows 10 Mobile in the first quarter of 2016.

OneDrive for Business update on storage plans 3a OneDrive for Business update on storage plans 3b

Use the whiteboard capture feature to store all meeting notes in OneDrive for Business.

Access whiteboards, business cards and photos quickly and easily.

New capabilities for developers

We are also releasing exciting new value for developers. First, we created a new OneDrive for Business API that allows developers to programmatically access OneDrive for Business files. The API includes support for thumbnails, search, large file upload and sync changes. Developers can write directly to the OneDrive for Business API or access it via the Microsoft Graph. We also provided new tools and SDKs for Universal Windows, iOS and Android—including support for simple “file picker” integration that enables import and export of OneDrive for Business content. Finally, we released an updated preview of a JavaScript Picker SDK for web app file management. All developer tools and documentation can be found on the new OneDrive developer portal.

Thanks for using OneDrive for Business and we hope you enjoy these new capabilities. As always, we welcome your feedback on UserVoice.

—Jeff Teper

How Lotus F1 Team races the globe with Office 365 and OneDrive for Business

To coincide with today’s news about the most significant set of OneDrive for Business updates since the service was first released, we continue our series on Lotus F1 Team’s real-world implementation of Office 365. We take an in-depth look at how Lotus F1 Team’s IT crew implemented OneDrive for Business to protect its intellectual property in one of the most highly competitive environments while enabling secure file sharing and access to key information by a team that’s on the go, traveling from race to race around the globe.

Following our first episode in the Lotus F1 Team series, we see how OneDrive for Business, activity auditing, Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and mobile device management (MDM) are put to work by an organization that takes protecting its intellectual property—from design to track—extremely seriously.

David Cadywould, from Lotus F1 Team’s IT crew, explains the great progress they’ve made in the last month with OneDrive for Business helping to control how the team stores and shares files—especially on mobile devices—and educate their users on organizational policies through the DLP feature.

David also demonstrates how the Lotus F1 Team blocks offline file synchronization to unmanaged devices and limits permission-sharing options in the People Picker Control using simple PowerShell commands. Other demos cover modern attachments, activity auditing, mobile device/Intune management and DLP.

Get started today with all of the new OneDrive for Business capabilities and stay tuned for the next chapter of Lotus F1 Team’s journey to Office 365, where we’ll show how they’re moving from pre-defined reporting using SQL Server to user-driven, self-service, interactive analytics with Power BI.

—Jeremy Chapman

OneDrive for Business sync client preview and new browser, mobile, IT control and developer experiences

Today marks a huge step forward with OneDrive for Business. It’s the most significant set of updates we’ve ever released. First and foremost, we’re delivering a rock-solid new sync experience. Beyond this, we have a new browser experience, mobile app improvements, critical new IT controls and extended developer experiences to enable people to do and achieve more with OneDrive for Business.

Our team has set up a site for you to reserve a spot for your organization to start testing out the limited preview of the new sync client. When the preview is ready, we’ll send you an email with instructions on how to download it and set it up. Updates across browser experiences, mobile apps, IT controls and developer experiences have already begun rolling out to Office 365.

If that isn’t enough OneDrive news for you, we’ve also published how Lotus F1 Team’s IT crew implemented OneDrive for Business with recently updated IT controls on today’s Office Mechanics show. And we’ve begun rolling out Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online to work with the new Office 2016 apps. It’s a big day for OneDrive for Business, and you can find out more on today’s OneDrive Blog post.

Loeb Consulting Group’s small business story—believe in what you do

Natalie Loeb conceived the idea for her business after her children were born. Wanting to put her family first, she left a job she loved in human resources at a global law firm to work part-time closer to home. “But when my previous employer offered to bring me on in a more flexible consulting role to focus on training and development, I knew I’d found the right balance,” she says.

She started Loeb Consulting Group to take advantage of the new opportunity, but soon found that running her own business was much different than working in-house. She learned some hard lessons about being disciplined in how she uses her time, knowing when to say no, and the importance of setting reasonable boundaries and communicating them clearly. “If the scope of a client’s request puts me in a position of compromising my firm’s standards, I now know to walk away,” Loeb says. “It’s not easy for an entrepreneur to turn away work, but sometimes it’s necessary.”

Loeb stresses the importance of effective time management, staying true to core values, and nurturing one’s passion for the business:

“Gauging what is and isn’t a good fit for your business has to do with always keeping an eye on your values and what you stand for. Staying true to those values can help guide you, particularly during challenging times. For example, during the economic downturn, our business slowed considerably. Rather than giving up and returning to work as a full-time employee elsewhere, I used the time to invest in the business by earning an executive coaching certification, which opened up a whole world of business opportunity in the form of leadership coaching. Over the years, I’ve discovered that one of the most important parts of running a business is finding the time to take a step back to ensure you’re spending your hours in the most effective ways. It’s easy to want to follow all your great ideas, but you have to prioritize. The ability to delegate is also critical. You’ve got to let go and trust others to do their jobs—after all, why would you hire employees if you do all the work yourself?”

To read the rest of Natalie’s story and the stories of other small business owners like Natalie, download our eBook, “What I wish I knew.”

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DeKalb Mechanical’s small business story—building business using the “golden rule”

steve doonan dekalbSteve Doonan was working for an HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) company when the owners asked him to open a branch office in DeKalb, Illinois—a location where they could foresee a lot of growth.

“The idea was for me to generate business in that area and eventually buy the branch from the owners, establishing my own company,” Doonan says. That’s exactly what happened. Today Doonan is sole owner of the successful business he built, but he hasn’t stopped dreaming.

“Ultimately, I’m working toward a company that I could run from a beach if I wanted to,” Doonan says. “The key is to hire employees who are good at their jobs and who you have confidence in. I want employees who will make smart decisions for the business and support smooth operations without needing me to be there.”

Over time, Doonan has assembled a team of highly capable employees. As a result, he’s been able to delegate many day-to-day decisions and focus on the company’s future. “I read somewhere that if you’re working in your business, you don’t have time to work on your business,” he says. “I believe that’s true—now that I don’t have to worry about daily decisions, I’m free to explore new avenues for opportunity.”

Doonan explains the importance of building strong relationships and taking a cautious approach to growth:

“A critical part of my role is to constantly focus on building relationships. Having positive relationships with my team is critical and goes without saying, but cultivating close bonds with both suppliers and prospective customers pays huge dividends. We work hard to make ourselves indispensable, and our customers look to us to solve their problems. We’ve developed a sense of trust that’s not easy to come by.”

To read the rest of Steve’s story and the stories of other small business owners like Steve, download our eBook, “What I wish I knew.”

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Office 365 Channels are live on IFTTT

Today we are excited to announce the launch of the Office 365 Channels on IFTTT to coordinate information flow in an automated way. IFTTT enables people to link to the various Triggers that exist for Internet apps, and then complete Actions against other products or apps. For example, you could have the lights in your house turn on when you are minutes from your house.

The Office 365 Channels include:

When you activate these Channels, you are able to automate what happens with your Office 365 data to increase your productivity even more. For example, you create Recipes to program activities, like automatically save a photo to OneDrive for Business when it’s posted to Instagram with a particular hashtag, or sharing that a new Office 365 contact was added to the team’s Trello board or Slack team.

We created some Office 365 sample Recipes to help you get started.

Mail Channel

We live in our email these days. The Mail Channel helps you create a centralized place to review of all of the information coming in from across the Internet.

For example, this Recipe sends an email when you receive a refund in Square:

IFTTT Recipe: Receive an email when you get a Square refund. connects square to office-365-mail

OneDrive for Business Channel

We all like to share highlights of our successes to our friends and peers.

This Recipe saves a photo from your Camera Roll on your iPhone to your OneDrive for Business if you’re within a particular radius of a location. This is a great way to automatically save all conference-related and team-building photos to your team’s OneDrive for Business photos folder:

IFTTT Recipe: Publish a new photo to OneDrive for Business connects ios-photos to onedrive-for-business

Another great Recipe uses Instagram photos with the #work hashtag. For example, this Recipe saves photos from Instagram to OneDrive for Business to create a great #work photo album and share conference and team activity pictures with the rest of the team:

IFTTT Recipe: Publish your Instagram pictures to OneDrive for Business connects instagram to onedrive-for-business

Calendar Channel

The Calendar Channel, keeps you on top of your meetings and important events all the time.

This Recipe creates a card in your team’s Trello board, reminding them of a team meeting, and then adds a task to follow up with meeting notes:

IFTTT Recipe: Create a follow up task card in Trello for a meeting. connects office-365-calendar to trello

Or use the Calendar Channel to schedule a gym appointment for you for in the evening when you haven’t reached your FitBit steps goal by 5 p.m.

IFTTT Recipe: If you haven't met today's step goal go to the gym. connects fitbit to office-365-calendar

Contacts Channel

Keeping track of relationships and key contacts is critical today.

This Recipe creates a page in your OneNote when you add a new contact to Office 365:

IFTTT Recipe: Create a new page for each new contact. connects office-365-contacts to onenote

This next Recipe creates an automatic followup calendar item for an easy reminder to follow up with a new contact a week after your initial meeting:

IFTTT Recipe: Create a new calendar item when a new contact is added. connects office-365-contacts to office-365-calendar

Get started today by visiting the Microsoft’s profile page on IFTTT, where we’ve posted 30 recipes to help you get started.

We’re looking forward to seeing the creative ways you can increase your productivity with IFTTT and Office 365.

New IT management controls added to OneDrive for Business

Today’s post was written by Reuben Krippner, director of product management for Office 365, focused primarily on OneDrive for Business.

The OneDrive for Business team has been working to deliver the most commonly requested controls by IT admins. Today, we’ll highlight new management options you have to protect and control the flow of your information using OneDrive for Business.

In addition, this week’s Office Mechanics show walks through the new controls and how to implement them as IT admin:

Limiting file sync to domain joined PCs

OneDrive for Business enables users to synchronize their files for offline use across their PCs or Macs. One of the most common requests from IT admins is to have the ability to block sync on unmanaged PCs. Now you can enable file sync to work only on domain-joined PCs (and you can even specify which of your domains you want to allow to sync), thereby blocking file sync on personally owned or unmanaged PCs. Note that using this setting means that you will disable file sync on all Macs as they cannot be domain-joined and managed like PCs.

This new control uses PowerShell to limit file sync to a list of permitted domains and, if your organization uses multiple domains, you can select the individual domains from which you allow sync requests.

The PowerShell cmdlet and syntax you use is:

Set-SPOTenantSyncClientRestriction  -Enable -DomainGuids "786548DD-877B-4760-A749-6B1EFBC1190A; 877564FF-877B-4760-A749-6B1EFBC1190A"

The “DomainGuids” value represents the domain you are allowing. You can find more details on TechNet, including how to determine your domain GUIDs. We also demonstrate this on the show.

Auditing all actions taken against OneDrive for Business files

New auditing controls rolling into the Office 365 compliance center allow you to audit all actions taken against files stored in OneDrive for Business. If you want to monitor activities like which PCs or Macs attempted to sync with OneDrive or who viewed and shared files, the auditing controls provide that visibility. You can learn more in this recent Office Blogs post, and we demonstrate some of the auditing capabilities on the show.

Managing mobile devices connecting to OneDrive for Business data

As more people move to OneDrive for Business to store and access their files, email-based mobile device management (MDM) policies may not suffice to protect data. Now using MDM in Office 365, you can ensure that devices connecting to your OneDrive for Business data are managed. After you’ve set up MDM policies, a device will need to enroll in MDM for Office 365 when it tries to connect to your data using OneDrive for Business or Office Mobile apps. This ensures that the device meets security requirements, enforces PIN log-in and other chosen configurations on the device. You can find out more about MDM for Office 365 and see it in action on the show.

Setting storage quotas in OneDrive for Business

Even though the prospect of having 1 TB of data in the cloud is attractive for many people, several organizations have requested the ability to set smaller quota limits. It could be to limit the amount of data stored, for information protection reasons, or simply to ensure that what people store in OneDrive for Business can sync (and fit) on their PC’s hard drive.

In this case, PowerShell is again used to determine the storage quota. Here’s an example:

Set-SPOSite –Identity https://yourdomain-my.sharepoint.com/personal/username_yourdomain_com 

 -StorageQuota 512000

We demonstrate this feature on the show, and you’ll find more information for the Set-SPOSite cmdlet on TechNet.

Preventing unintentional sharing to “Everyone” or “All Users” in OneDrive for Business

OneDrive for Business is designed to ensure that only those with viewing or editing permissions can view or edit a file. Many organizations want sharing with people to be a very specific and targeted action. For example, they want their users to determine the specific people they need to share a file with and explicitly invite them through the sharing dialog. We’ve also offered the “Shared with Everyone” folder, which means files placed in this folder automatically grant users permissions and are publically discoverable through Delve. We had a lot of feedback from customers that this folder was an all-too-simple way to avoid specifically nominating people who should get access to a file. Based on this feedback, for all new tenants and users, the “Shared with everyone” folder will no longer be created by default; however, IT admins have the ability to override this setting.

If this is something you’ve been waiting for to protect information, you’ll also be happy to know that there are controls to remove “Everyone,” “All Users” and “Everyone except external users” from the people picker in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online. Again, you would use PowerShell to disable these entries from the people picker with the following settings:

Set-SPOTenant -ShowEveryoneClaim $false
Set-SPOTenant -ShowEveryoneExceptExternalUsersClaim $false
Set-SPOTenant -ShowAllUsersClaim $false

More information about the Set-SPOTenant cmdlet is on TechNet and we highlight this as well as the resulting user experience on the show.

More to come in OneDrive for Business

These new controls, all based on your feedback, provide more capabilities to protect corporate information in OneDrive for Business. In the coming months, we’ll deliver a whole range of new user experiences including our new sync client (featuring selective sync), new web client refresh and offline file support for mobile devices. We’ll also bring in new controls for IT admins to manage the scope or span of sharing outside the organization as well as other controls that provide additional ways to protect key business files. So keep checking back; be sure to try out the new management controls today and let us know what you think.

–Reuben Krippner

OneDrive for Business introduces new data loss prevention capabilities for sync

The ability to take OneDrive for Business files offline, apply changes and then sync those changes back is fundamental to helping people manage their files effectively across devices.

Many organizations want to ensure their users are only able to sync files to managed- or domain-joined PC’s thereby limiting data leakage possibilities on unmanaged home and personal computers. Today we’re excited to announce that we’re releasing this capability for OneDrive for Business administrators! This complements the other data loss prevention investments we’re making right across Office 365.

To find out all the details on this exciting new feature then check out the OneDrive blog and our comprehensive TechNet article.

We’re constantly striving to provide tools to allow IT administrators to protect key business files on OneDrive for Business and we’ve got more IT management capabilities coming during 2015, stay tuned!