I recently had the chance to attend Microsoft Ignite – The Tour in Milan. Whilst I was there I attempted to go to sessions on areas that I felt would be important in the next year. Below are my thoughts and finds from the sessions I attended.
Microsoft 365 Security
Microsoft are providing a new admin console for all things security in Office 365. Microsoft 365 Security will provide access to security features such as Azure ATP, Windows Defender ATP and Secure Score (plus more) into a single pane of glass. This can help administrators review and deal with security related incidents from one console and prevent the need for multiple tabs. User, Devices, Applications can all be monitored from within the console with alerts across your entire tenant for multiple products.
Microsoft Threat Protection was also heavily mentioned throughout the sessions. MTP is a combination of several products to increase the protection of data, devices and users in Azure and Office 365. Products such as Azure ATP, M-CAS, EOP and more all contribute to Microsoft Threat Protection.
This is all based on Microsoft’s Three pillars to Security:
- Operations – The sheer number of “signals” captured by Microsoft on a daily basis is staggering. These signals provide Microsoft with the insight to be able to react quickly and also learn typical behaviour to be able to provide risk analysis on users and devices when they access your tenant.
- Technology – Technology such as Conditional Access, Microsoft Information Protection, Microsoft Threat Protection and Secure Score help assist customers in dealing with threats quickly and efficiently.
- Partners – The Microsoft Intelligent Security Association is a collection of partners that Microsoft work with to “build an ecosystem of intelligent security solutions”. Forcepoint, Check point, Fortinet, Paloalto are just a few big names that make up this ISA.
It was interesting to see Microsoft’s approach to handling Security in their platform and I think this year could see a rise in Security requirements for many customers as these new services are rolled out.
Microsoft Teams is quite clearly a popular topic of discussion. I was able to attend a few sessions around the lifecycle management of Teams and how to adopt Teams in your organisation. I came away with a few areas of thought that i would like to try and implement with some customer:
- There are two approaches to Teams lifecycle management – Organic and Automated
- Organic lifecycle management is about giving the power to users, allowing them to create their own Teams and use them as they see fit
- Automated lifecycle management is about programming Teams so that it has a common style and administrative appraoch
- Teams can be created with the same name. As the GroupId is different in the background, there could be multiple Teams created with the same display name. This can make management of these teams tricky.
- This can be avoided by using Group Naming Templates.
- It’s important to note that some Admin roles are exempt from the naming policy.
- Teams can be created using PowerShell and can users could even be able to request Teams through Forms/SharePoint Lists with automated process in Flow for approval and creation.
- This would provide a common approach to Teams creation.
- The process is taken out of IT hands by having approvals from within the business but the Teams have the corporate look and feel once created.
- Dynamic Office 365 Groups can be used to automatically add users to a Team with the right criteria.
- PowerShell is your friend for reporting on Teams and their last use.
- Any results from PowerShell reports can then be imported in to PowerBI to provide nice charts and reports
I was also able to get some insight on Microsoft’s adoption framework for Microsoft Teams.
- Microsoft’s Adoption Framework includes five steps: Assemble Team, Define Strategy, Assess Readiness, Build Plan and Onboard.
- It’s important that your team consists of key roles from not just IT, but throughout the business.
- Business Champions are your secret weapon!
- Create scenarios for your business where they will see constructive change. This will help users wanting to use Teams.
- Governance of Teams is important. Be sure to talk to your Security team to understand what is required to secure teams and retain data used within the platform.
- A phased approach to Teams is recommended. Don’t roll out to all users at once.
- Make use of your Champions so they can be the point of contact for users to understand how Teams works.
- More information can be found online in the Adopt Microsoft Teams page located on docs.microsoft.com.
Microsoft Cloud App Security
M-CAS was always an area I was uncertain on. I was able to attend a session to provide an overview plus an insight in to what’s coming to this service:
- M-CAS can provide multiple services
- Discover Cloud Apps running in your organisation
- Detect Cloud threats, compromised accounts and ransomware
- Provides an audit trail for investigations
- Prevents unauthorised data from being shared externally
- Prevents regulated and sensitive data from being stored in the cloud
- Block download of Office 365 data to personal devices
- Cloud Discovery can now be used with Windows Defender ATP to block access to applications straight from the Windows device.
- 3rd Party applications accessing Office 365 can also be blocked on Windows devices.
- Integration with Microsoft Information Protection can help prevent sensitive information from leaving Office 365 using DLP and labels.
- Limited Access to files can be used to allow users to sign in to Office 365 with read-only access only. From personal devices as an example or if the user sign in is deemed a certain risk level.
- Limited Access is enforced with Conditional Access policies.
- Automated Security Workflows can be used to automatically handle security alerts. Actions such as disable account, request MFA or change password can be automated.
These are some of areas I felt were going to be important for the next year. There is a serious emphasis on security and I think a lot of customers who have already made the move to Office 365 will be keen to set up the new featires to secure their data, users and devices.