Episode 177 – Friends Should Let Friends Buy Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Episode 177 – Friends Should Let Friends Buy Microsoft 365 Business Premium

In Episode 177, Ben and Scott break down the changes in Microsoft 365 Business Premium and how it compares against Office 365 Enterprise Plans including the Office 365 E3.

- [Ben] Welcome to episode 177 of the Microsoft cloud IT pro podcast recorded live on May eight 2020. This is a show about Microsoft 365 with Azure from the perspective of IT pros and its users where we discuss the topic or recent news and how it relates to you. In this episode, Scott and Ben take a more detailed look at the recently renamed and improved Microsoft 365 business plans and discuss with these updates, should friends now let friends by business? Everybody now his kids and dogs and all sorts of things or people or animals making noise in the background to their meetings.

- [Scot] Yeah, I think we're all getting better at it though, so maybe for those who haven't been doing the remote thing now that they've had a couple of weeks to not necessarily settle in to it, but experience it and recognizing that for some of us it's going to be coming for a long time. I think especially for technology companies, I mean Facebook announced that through the rest of 2020 just go for it.

- [Ben] Really, I missed that.

- [Scot] Yep, yep, go forth and do it. Amazon is at least October, Microsoft still has their campus effectively shut down. So it's gonna be a thing for a while and I think for us, like in this segment and this area, we're going to continue to experience it.

- [Ben] Yeah, although to be fair, I've been experiencing it for like 10 years now.

- [Scot] Yes.

- [Ben] My kids literally don't know what it's like for me to have to leave the house for work. They get upset when I have to leave to go to work. They're like, "Why do you have to leave?" Some people do these everyday guys.

- [Scot] You've done it again.

- [Ben] Yes. They just don't know what it's like to have daddy actually leave every day to go to work.

- [Scot] Man, you know, they'll have to figure out their own lives at some point, you know, let them grow up in flutter and all those things.

- [Ben] What it is. Yes, they'll realize it. Maybe, who knows? Maybe everybody will work for home for the rest of their lives. I think you are gonna see a lot more people or companies staying open to remote work 'cause this is forced everybody to figure it out. I know there's some people I've talked to that they're like, "This just does not work for us. "We're not as productive." All of that, we need to be at the same spot. But I think there's a lot of companies that are also realizing, "Hey, this isn't as unproductive "or as bad or as prohibitive to our daily activities "as we thought it was."

- [Scot] Yeah, interestingly, I also think lots of folks are gonna have to figure out the burnout factor and really starting it and mass in this time is a different thing then all of a sudden a company you phasing into remote work or just easing your way into it and figuring out what that balance is for, what is productivity at home? I think a lot of folks who are potentially looking at their teams and saying, "Well, we can't work remotely," oh, that's not attitude 'cause you're gonna have to figure out a way to do that in a lot of cases. And also by saying you can't, you're automatically throwing up a barrier to being successful there, but being able to align those times and boundaries between work and home life and recognizing that, yeah, this other thing is going on in the outside.

- [Ben] Yeah, it's interesting and there's definitely a difference between being forced to work remotely and like you said, having that gradual roll and have it being an option. I would say there's more challenges with the way it happened this way. Well, it has opened up a lot of eyes. It also is a lot more challenging when you do it this way. Than if it, like you said, it's a gradual roll in a gradual rollout, you start with options and just do it a little bit at a time. Doing it this way definitely has brought a whole set of challenges.

- [Scot] So one of the little things that gets me, is I have an established place to do work every day. I have my desk, it has my monitors, there's a nice warning ring on the desk where my coffee cup goes. There's a place for the keyboard, a place for my mouse, microphone, all those kinds of things. And my wife potentially transitioning to a remote role as a teacher. She's kind of settled on just one or two different places in the house to work in. And I've offered, like last night she's been working on an extra class and trying to do all these recordings for her students and things so she can put them up. So she came into the office and was sitting at my desk, which I'm normally on a laptop, but then it's just in clamshell plugged into all these monitors and she brought her laptop stand-in. She brought her keyboard in, brought her mouse in and she sat, stood up, it's a standing desk. So she stood up at the desk and I said all we gotta do is pull that little USBC cable out of my laptop and we can put it into yours and you could at least have the keyboard. And if you don't want the keyboard, keep using your keyboard 'cause that's all Bluetooth, that's fine. I get, you don't wanna use somebody else's mouse 'cause everybody's kind of partial to things like that, but you can totally use your keyboard and just all of a sudden have these screens like go ahead, have the 34-inch monitor and things like that. And she looked at me like I was crazy just like I couldn't be productive like that. I'm like, I couldn't be productive on a single screen.

- [Ben] Yeah, it's everybody figuring out how they work best. As IT professionals in the cloud era, sometimes it feels like we don't speak the same language as the rest of the organization. So when stakeholders from finance or other departments start asking about a specific project or Teams Azure costs, they don't always realize how much work is involved in obtaining that information. Sifting through cluttered CSVs and complex massive metadata in order to manually create custom views and reports. It's a real headache. On top of helping you understand and reduce your organization's overall Azure spend. ShareGate Overcast lets you group resources into meaningful cost hubs and map them to real-world business scenarios. This way you can track costs in the way that makes most sense with your corporate structure, whether it's by product, business unit, team or otherwise. It's a flexible, intuitive and business-friendly way of tracking Azure infrastructure costs and it's only available in ShareGate Overcast. Find out more on sharegate.com/itpro. So we have an interesting topic. This topic today, speaking of working came up probably about a month ago now. I think this has been out and I saw some articles about it and we kind of put some notes together and were like, "We should record this at some point in time." So today is your lucky day Scot.

- [Scot] Every day is my lucky day when I get to talk to you, Ben.

- [Ben] Aw, that's so sweet. That was a little weird. Now you got me all thrown off. It's been a long week. So we recorded an episode a while back. I don't even remember which episode it was where we said, "Friends do not let friends by business "when it comes to office 365," and we had a whole list of reasons why. About a month ago, Microsoft made some announcements that we talked about, about renaming the business 365 skews. And as a part of that, one of the, I would say new skews with some added features to it is you can now get Microsoft 365 business premium, which includes Windows 10, office 365... well no, that'd be Microsoft 365 business standard, I believe it's one of the Microsoft 365 business skews as well as essentially EMS. You're getting Azure active directory premium. So you get all three of those for $20 a month, which is the exact same price as a office 365 E3 plan. So a lot of people have been asking, "Why would I buy office 365 E3 for $20 "when I can get Microsoft 365 E3 "or Microsoft 365 business premium for $20 a month?" Why would I not get that one with all these other features, Windows 10, Azure active directory premium, it's essentially all the EMS stuff. Although we're gonna talk about, it's not all of that. So do friends still not let friends buy business or have they changed this enough that Microsoft 365 business premium is actually a very solid option now where you're not quite as handicapped as maybe you were before. So we figured we'd dive in, discuss that. There was also a blog article that came out around securing remote work, tying into our intro to using Microsoft 365 business premium.

- [Scot] And then that article really piggybacks and the concepts there piggyback kinda whole cons the licensing construct where they added Azure AD premium P1 to those licenses. So having access to conditional access I think ups the game and changes it a little bit. 'Cause that's one of those differentiators between those two skews.

- [Ben] It really is. And before it was always an Add-on and now all of a sudden it has come bundled. So we decided this episode, we're just gonna talk about Microsoft 365 business premium and where it actually does make some sense now. I think my opinion, we'll see what Scott thinks. As well as scenarios where frankly it still doesn't make sense even though there's more features to it as opposed to like the E3 plan.

- [Scot] Yeah, let's get into it.

- [Ben] Alright, so where do you wanna kick it off? How do you wanna kick it off?

- [Scot] So I tend to look at it from one of those clear differentiators between those business plans and the enterprise plans is the number of users that you can bring into those skews. So having a hard cap on the number of users, like if I was gonna build out a decision tree to say, should I even look at this product, is it for me? How many people do I need to license? Is it more than or less than 300? Because if I have more than 300 users who are gonna require these features, then it's still not the thing for me. I'm gonna have to go build a licensing bundle or hopefully find a suite of products like any three or any five that has it all built-in or I can do the base bundle, the SKU pack plus the Add-ons, things like that. So like I said, if I was gonna build the tree, that's where I would start, number of users regardless of functionality they need or anything else. That's your biggest probably upfront question that you need to answer.

- [Ben] Yup, I would agree. That's always my first question and well there are some feature differences that is that hard line in the sand of which way do you go, is gonna be your user account. If you're less than 300 you have a choice to make. If you're more than 300 there's like not a decision there. You just have to go with one of the E plans.

- [Scot] Yeah, you're just gonna go another way. And then from there, you might try to rationalize down cost or Add-ons or things like that as you go ahead and standing up the service. And I think what you could do is then maybe you could get into that feature comparison of if I'm into the whole office 365 E3 versus Microsoft 365 business premium. Then you might wanna decide what features are important to bring over for you along the way.

- [Ben] Yup and I think one of those, and I mentioned EMS at the beginning and that is not, it is just Azure AD premium plan one that's included in business. So for me, I think that's the next decision tree probably that plays into effect, although there's a couple here but one of his is going to be, do I need that full EMS suite where it comes to like the mobile application management, the Intune with the mobile device management, some of those extra features that are in the EMS suite that are licensed as EMS but aren't licensed as part of Azure AD premium P1 because Microsoft 365 business premium is only going to be Azure AD P1, not the rest of those EMS features that are included in office 365 E3 or in Microsoft 365 E3. I think that's probably the next biggest one in my opinion. I say probably, because it could come down to a few other ones.

- [Scot] So now that comes to another weird decision of do you need full-blown MDM? Like do you need full Intune for your devices? Like what does that look like for you? Or are you doing like Knox or something like that today or AirWatch and you wanna look to going to Intune or do you need MDM light and can you leverage built-in MDM capabilities? So there's always... 'Cause that exists as well. There's full-blown MDM with Intune and then there's, it used to be what they used to call it, it used to be called office 365 mobile device management. But now I think it's all just mobile device management for Microsoft 365 which is inclusive of some of the office 365 stuff where you get MDM light in it today anyway until potentially they go ahead and take that away.

- [Ben] Yeah.

- [Scot] So I think that's something to think about there too. 'Cause especially if I'm just doing maybe, I've always thought MDMs is a weird conversation to have, do you need MDM or you do you need MAM? So is it the data in the application that's really important or is it the whole device and kind of the surrounding ecosystem that's important. And certainly, if you're looking potentially, I think at that small business segment, like if you're looking at the 365 business premium, you're less than 300 users, I would bet for lots of folks that not having access to Intune isn't the end of the world 'cause I can still do my conditional access 'cause P1 is giving me access to that in Azure AD premium P1 and I can still do device management light and particularly application management. So being able to still have those application controls where I can have you come in, I can't ensure that you can only sign in to your device with your corporate identity. But I can make sure that you can only sign into outlook with your corporate identity and when you sign into outlook that you can't take any screenshots and that you can't be out on a jailbroken device. So have I protected your data there or not? It's always weird line to walk. But I think if you're a smaller business, like if you're in that 365 business premium skew, you're probably not looking for full-blown MDM anyway. You might want the features, but I guarantee you don't want the operational overhead of keeping it up.

- [Ben] Right, although you can't do my licensing matrix is failing me. You can't do the mobile application management with just Azure AD premium P one can you, isn't that still part of EMS? You can do conditional access, but not actually like the mayhem, selective wipe stuff or don't allow copy and paste between applications, that type of stuff.

- [Scot] Right, yeah. I think you're right there, but if I can stop you from logging into the app if you're on a, like an unregistered device or whatever it is.

- [Ben] Right, that goes a long ways.

- [Scot] You've got to weigh that out and decide where that's important to you organizationally.

- [Ben] Yeah, so yeah, figuring out where that is and truth be told, even the mobile application management versus the mobile device management, I'm shocked how many people like conditional access in some of that mobile application management. If you do that right, you really don't need a lot of the mobile device management as much. Even bigger companies, I'm surprised how many people just do the MAM and it's way easier to manage. So another one that comes out, especially if you're a small business when you are weighing Microsoft 365 business premium versus office 365 is Windows 10 pro and licensing that. If you've already bought a bunch of faxed copies of Windows 10 pro, you don't care about licensing Windows 10 pro, the office 365 E3 is gonna be fine. But one of the nice things about business is it does have a Windows 10 pro license. So if you want to do all of your cloud licensing, if you want to even look a little bit at like I think the Windows virtual desktop is included now in the Microsoft 365 business premium. if you be... Tripping over my own words that, but as well as, and this was when I learned the other day, is the licensing office applications, so Word, Excel, PowerPoint, desktop on a virtual desktop interface. I can't remember. Is that the CSA license or SCA? The shared, essentially the shared application license.

- [Scot] Yeah, whatever acronym they have going for it these days.

- [Ben] Yes, that is the only business plan that's included in this that Microsoft 365 business premium. So even though office applications are included in some of the lower business 365 plans, the only one that includes the shared application access is gonna be that business premium. So if you are looking for that virtual desktop interface, maybe looking at Windows virtual desktop, you want the shared applications, there's a lot of that. The Windows 10 for even desktop devices, all of that's in that Microsoft 365 business plan too. So if you need all of that, you're under 300 users, you don't need EMS. In that scenario Microsoft 365 business is a solid option as well.

- [Scot] Yeah, it starts to become more and more compelling. It does.

- [Ben] And I have one more compelling feature that they snuck out there. You can now add voice. This also used to be a big one. I heard this be a differentiating factor for one of my clients at one point in time was you used to not be able to do Skype or Cloud Voice, the whole cloud PBX, PSTN calling, all of that on a business plan that was only available on enterprise plans. Voice can now be added to Microsoft 365 business premium and I believe even some of the lower skews. So if you are a small business and you want to do voice calling, you can just license business plans as well now and not worry about the enterprise plan just to get voice.

- [Scot] So is that voice plan, is that different than business voice? 'Cause they've renamed all this stuff, right? Where say you have Microsoft 365 business voice, which is that's in the office 365 E3, the F1, it's in the Microsoft 365 E3, the Microsoft 365 business but not business premium.

- [Ben] I did not realize they renamed that one.

- [Scot] Well, I will make sure to put the article to, what is Microsoft 365 business voice.

- [Ben] Business voice that is, I was just looking up phone system, call trends for multilevel auto attendance call queues includes, okay, so Microsoft 365 business voice, they combined two plans into this. Microsoft 365 business voices is $20 a user a month. What you used to have, and you may still have, you may still be able to buy these separately because certain plans include certain features already. Cloud Voice, which was all of the auto-attendant, call queues, call transfer, voicemail, all of that. That was an $8 a month Add-on to just get the Cloud Voice functionality and then for $12 a user a month, you got those domestic calling plans or you could do domestic and international for 24 but it started $12 a month domestic calling plans. So you have your $12 a month for domestic calling. You had $8 a month for Cloud Voice. to get the features and the PSTN calling they took these and Microsoft 365 business voice now combines is $20 a month, which is your eight and 12 for your Cloud Voice and your domestic calling. And it includes both of those in one bundle.

- [Scot] Not confusing at all.

- [Ben] Not confusing at all. And I'd have to look into this 'cause I again, I missed this one. But when you get into the office 365 set of things like your Microsoft 365 E5 in your office 365 E5 already include the $8 a month Cloud Voice Add-on or all those entitlements. So if you're on one of those business E5 plans, you only need to license domestic calling.

- [Scot] Yeah, it's getting weird. And now you can't even search for Cloud Voice anymore 'cause it's all been subsumed by business voice. So you gotta be like, go search for the old phone system stuff and then hope you land on the right article. Although, but it's weird.

- [Ben] So are you looking at the business voice article?

- [Scot] Yeah.

- [Ben] It says down at the bottom, business voice requires the Microsoft 365 and that includes Teams. It's an Add-on subscription for up to 300 users that cannot be used standalone business voice, blah blah, blah, blah.

- [Scot] Yeah, yeah. It still aligns to those licensing limitations with those skews.

- [Ben] It aligns to the small business ones. But that means Cloud Voice should still exist for those enterprise skews.

- [Scot] Good luck figuring out where that's all written down now.

- [Ben] So as you're going, this is what happens when we stumble across random articles in the middle of the podcast. Oh, see options for enterprise. There's a little link. It's hiding. Voice and video calling with Microsoft Teams.

- [Scot] Yeah, it takes you into all the Teams stuff and 'cause now calling plans and all the documentation for phone system and calling plans and set up falls under Teams.

- [Ben] Oh, it's phone system. So it's not Cloud Voice. So if you're looking for the enterprise stuff, look for phone system for $8 and then calling plan pricing for your domestic and international. Outlook ends are a great way to improve productivity and save time in the workplace. And Sperry software has all the Add-ons you'll ever need. The save as PDF Add-on is a best seller. And it is great for project backups, legal discovery, and more. This add-in saves the email and attachments as PDF files. It's easy to download, easy to install, and Sperry software's unparalleled customer service is always ready to help. Download a free trial at sperrysoftware.com. S-P-E-R-R-Y S-O-F-T-W-A-R-E.com. and see for yourself how great save as PDF is. Listeners can get 20% off their order today by entering the code "cloudIT." That's cloud IT, C-L-O-U-D I-T, all one word at checkout. Sperry software work in email, not on email. So we all got that straight now, right? Microsoft 365 phones system is only for business plans. Office 365 requires a phone system and a calling plan. Did I say that right?

- No.

- No.

- [Scot] 365 business voice?

- [Ben] Yes.

- [Scot] Is for Microsoft--

- [Ben] Only for business plans.

- [Scot] Microsoft 365 business plans. Well, but not just the business plans 'cause you can also do it with office 365 E3s and F1s. So thanks Microsoft. Even though it still has that licensing limitation at 300 I don't know how that works.

- [Ben] That's bizarre.

- [Scot] It's clearly called out in the licensing. If your organization has fewer than 300 people and you have office 365 E1, E3 or F1, you can also do it. You can also do it with the A1 and A3. So you can do it with the education plans.

- [Ben] Which I mean it does kind of make sense because reality is the pricing didn't change. If you go buy that for $20 or if you go buy phone system and domestic calling for $8 and $12 respectively. Either way, at least they kept that consistent. You're gonna be paying $20 a month to add some type of phone capability and to anything lower than a business or enterprise E5 plan.

- [Scot] There you go. The documentation might not be consistent, but the pricing is, oh, wow.

- [Ben] So that is another, again, that used to be a differentiator between the two and a reason not to go buy business is if you ever looking at phone systems now or shortly, what was the date on that? You can put them onto both. I know they announced it was coming. I think it's already there.

- [Scot] I mean it looks like it's already there. I haven't spot up a business tenant in a couple of weeks, but maybe that'll be the thing to do. We'll go spin up a business tenant and see if it can be added.

- [Ben] Yeah, it looks like it's all there. The data I saw was around pricing. So pricing includes or pricing includes required communication and taxes and fees until June 30th, 2021. I don't know if that means your prices are gonna go up a little bit for taxes and fees on June 30th. I don't know if there's something that's being waived because of COVID right now and that's why those prices include taxes and fees until June 30th. Not exactly sure what's going on there. But yeah, June 30th will appear as a separate charge only in the US starting on June 30th. So there's some goofiness going on there, but that shouldn't be too much.

- [Scot] Alright, cool. So there's some things that are similar and there's some things that are more than similar. Almost to the same between them. But when you're going through that rationalization exercise of saying, so I've got less users, I'm within that 300 boundary. So now I've gone down this difficult road of trying figure it out. What is business actually missing when you compare it to like an office 365 E3?

- [Ben] So there are a couple things that it is missing in terms of just like functional specs when it comes to certain services. So exchange online is one of the biggest ones that you're gonna notice some differences. An argument could be made whether you actually need this or not, but smaller exchange mailboxes. So your business 365 plans are essentially running exchange online plan one where your enterprise plans are gonna be exchange online plan two at least when it comes to like E3 and E5. So that means that you have a 50 gig mailbox instead of a hundred gig mailbox for business premium versus office 365 E3. However, archiving the business 365 premium does appear to include like a 100-gigabyte expanding archive. So as you archive it'll grow. So there could be an argument made for why do we need a hundred gigabytes if I can just archive everything, 50 gigabytes and archiving more frequently is probably adequate.

- [Scot] That depends on how you access that mailbox and what it looks like. Like do I access that from mobile devices? How hard is it for me to work with the archive from mobile? Like there're weird limitations there and then I believe you probably know better than me, but the office 365 enterprise archives, those are still billed as unlimited archives, right? Ever-expanding?

- [Ben] Yeah. But they all start. So I think there's similar to the business ones because they all start at a hundred gigs and the business premium ones based on what I think I saw was those ever expand to, it's still an unlimited.

- [Scot] Gotcha.

- [Ben] At least up at that premium level. And then some of the e-Discovery. So when I started looking through like a feature by feature breakdown using service descriptions, O365sd.com.

- [Scot] There actually is a great one out there 'cause they do have, so one of the things they didn't used to do was have to plan options or it was never always a great way to do it to get the business plans and the E-plans all together on the same page.

- [Ben] Yep.

- [Scot] And now they do. So again, this is another link I'll put in the show notes. You can go to office 365 plan options and it breaks down the whole family. So it's inclusive of everything in business. So Microsoft 365 business basic, apps for business, business standard and then all of the office 365 enterprise as well as education skews, which is super awesome to see.

- [Ben] Perfect, yeah. So things like advanced e-Discovery are only in those enterprise plans. There's probably some small businesses that would use it. Do you think like lawyer, some law firms that are probably, there's a lot of law firms that are probably less than 300 users that may have a need for advanced e-Discovery just due to their line of work. Some of that stuff isn't going to get included with your office 365 plans or your business premium plans, so I can't remember. The other one I was gonna look at was... Do you have that chart in front of you? Data loss prevention is one that also tends to... No, that when I did look at. That one as included in everything. Data lost prevention is, e-Discovery is not or advanced e-Discovery. The business premium plans do include in-place holds and in place e-Discovery just not some of those more advanced features. So really go take a look at those service descriptions. Don't look at this at a super high level, but.

- [Scot] Yeah, you have to avoid the marketing and the pricing pages and do all of that at a lower level. They actually used to provide Excel spreadsheets for these where you could do kind of pivots and filters and sorts. I've always found it helpful to go and make my own for those. So it is possible to still copy and paste the tables and things just directly out of the HTML or the markdown, the on rendered markdown that's so free and get hub and put that into Excel and be able to do those pivots based on how you want them. 'Cause there's gonna be a lot of noise in there that you can just kind of cut the noise out and get it to be what it needs to be.

- [Ben] Right, so the first thing I do, I copy and paste all those into Excel and I create a table and then I filter on the skew I'm looking for all the nos. So just show me everything under business premium that is set to "no" because that means that's not included and then it makes it a lot easier to start from there when you're comparing what's a no in that column versus a yes in one of my enterprise columns.

- [Scot] Yup, just go ahead and delete the skews you don't want and you get to where you need to be.

- [Ben] Exactly.

- [Scot] It's a little rough, right? I think you're in a potentially a little bit of a handicap position may be coming in as a small business and somebody like you or I saying, well your best bet is to copy and paste from HTML site into a spreadsheet and figure it out. Versus being an enterprise where you know if you're buying thousands and thousands of seats, you're gonna have a salesperson at Microsoft who's very keen to sell those to you and they're helping you figure that out.

- [Ben] Or you have a finance guy that really likes Excel and if you say, "Hey, "can you go build me some really fancy Excel spreadsheet?" They'll like go hide in their cubicle for hours to create an incredible Excel spreadsheet for you.

- [Scot] No more cubicle Ben.

- [Ben] No offense to anybody that's in finance and really likes their Excel spreadsheets. But yeah, we didn't even get into our last blog article about securing everything. Your practical guide to securing remote work.

- [Scot] I think securities, maybe that's when we can hold off on and have as a conversation at another time 'cause it does, I think it goes out a little outside the boundaries of what I put it in there about what we were originally gonna talk about. 'Cause we'll get into kind of specifics thereof some things that you may or may not want to consider turning on. Like what are must-haves versus not must-haves. If you have access to these types of features. Like if you've got the licensing, you're definitely gonna want to turn some things on. Like full stop, they should just be on by default. Microsoft might not turn them on by default for you but they'll certainly be very vocal and I think you and I would be too about, "Hey let's light up the things that really makes sense."

- [Ben] Yes, absolutely. So, to be continued next week 'cause we don't have a topic pick for next week yet, we will talk about securing in which features you should turn on and off and how you can take advantage of these new skews. And the security offerings they're in.

- [Scot] Yeah, perfect, absolutely.

- [Ben] All right, well, let us go enjoy the rest of the sunny day from the confines of our house.

- [Scot] Yes, this is the way.

- [Ben] We will talk to you next week about that security article.

- [Scot] Thanks, Ben.

- [Ben] All right, thanks, Scott. If you enjoyed the podcast, go leave us a five-star rating in iTunes. It helps to get the word out so more IT pros can learn about office 365 and Azure. If you have any questions you want us to address on the show or feedback about the show, feel free to reach out via our website, Twitter or Facebook. Thanks again for listening and have a great day.

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Episode 176 – April Showers Bring May Microsoft 365 Updates

Episode 176 – April Showers Bring May Microsoft 365 Updates

In Episode 176, Ben and Scott dive into the April announcements around feature updates to Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Threat Protection, and Azure Active Directory.

- Welcome to Episode 176 of the Microsoft Cloud IT Pro Podcast, recorded live on May 1, 2020. This is the show about Microsoft 365 and Azure from the perspective of IT pros and end users. Where we discuss a topic or recent news and how it relates to you. In this episode, Scott and Ben discuss some of the recent news from the month of April, including some upcoming conferences, Azure AD Security, and Microsoft Teams.

- I feel like April was never going to end.

- Well, it has, I mean, it's still might not have, but officially on the calendar it has. In our brains and collective consciousness it may have not.

- Yes, but the good news is, at least here in Florida, we are slowly starting to open back up. The question is, are you going to go out and do anything, now that it's opened back up?

- Well, we chose to open on our day of highest deaths. So my personal approach is to stay home a little bit while longer.

- You've already had it, you're immune.

- We'll see, I'm thinking about paying the 120 bucks to get the test, just to find out.

- Are you just to find out if you had it or not?

- Yeah, some of the labs are starting to get it. So Quest has one.

- Got it, interesting.

- And less little antibody test.

- I saw the mall, town center is going to open Monday, I think is what I saw. So yeah, stores, restaurants, I think they said are gonna open, but they have to be at 20% capacity. I think it was or 25% capacity.

- Yep, 25 here.

- So, we'll see. We haven't gone out and done a whole lot. We've started to see a few more people. I'm getting kind of stir-crazy and I don't know, like, I feel like we've flattened the curve and we don't need to talk about this too long 'cause we have other topics to talk about. But it's like at what point in time do you just have to start going out? Because obviously vaccines are gonna be a long way off. It feel like the curve is starting to flatten out. So I'm kind of getting close to that approach of, "All right, it's time to start getting out, "seeing some people doing some normal activities again." So yeah, my two cents.

- Slowly but surely, like get back out, see family, things like that, where you can and where it makes sense.

- And that's what we did. My wife's family came over the other day and they didn't even come inside. We actually just sat outside at the picnic tables, in the park next to our house. And it was her sister's birthday, so it was fun. It was fun to see them, we hadn't seen them in like a month. So all good, but there's some other events coming up now too, that are free. So there's some silver lining in all of this. There are some free events coming up that people can participate in.

- Nice, what type of free events are coming?

- Yes, what type of free events? So as an IT pro and as an IT pro-ish podcast, one may or may not appeal to a bunch of our audience, but Build, I have never been to a Build. This year I'm going to Build Scott, virtually because it's free and it's virtual. So that is one of the events coming up. I think you registered for it the other day. I registered for it last night. So I am going to try to keep some of the sessions. Sometimes there's some interesting things that come out of Build, especially around late Visual Studio Code or some of the PowerShell or source control stuff that I use with my PowerShell. There's always stuff that comes out around Azure and things that, well, we may not go Build applications. They still can be applicable to IT pros in terms of how you manage what developers may try to do to your environment based on new capabilities being released. So even though I'm not a developer, I still try to keep track of some of those developer-ish type conferences.

- Yeah, so I think there's some exciting things that they have planned this year, if anything, just in the delivery model that they're going to use for it. So not only is registration open and certainly you should go register because it is a free event. I think there's some constraints there for a lot of us. Like one of the things I love about, you know, going to conferences, isn't just the networking. Like that's certainly valuable. But if you are going to go to sessions, you're there and it's much easier to go and not be distracted by work. So I think lots of people are gonna be potentially competing for work over May 19 and 20 while this goes on, but it's gonna be a 48-hour event and it's gonna be running for 48 hours straight, which means you're going to have coverage in geographies, which would typically feel like they would have to miss out on an event like this, just due to time of day. So if you think about folks over in Australia, and APAC, and certainly Europe and things like that, everybody is going to be able to get in on the fun.

- Yeah, it should be good. And there's another one coming up that will be short. Let me think, it'll be the day after this recording goes live. Office 365 Nashville is doing a virtual one. So Daniel Glenn is kinda spearheading that one and that one is going to be on May 8. So this episode should come out May 7. I think registration will still be open, but it's a free virtual event that you can go sign up for. I'm actually speaking at that one because it was virtual and enabled me to speak at that one. So that one's coming up, we'll put a link in that one, if you wanna go register there. And then there's also one that Joel Oleson is doing. I can't remember the name of it right now, but we'll put it in the show notes.

- Yeah, My 365 something or on there.

- Yeah, it was gonna be like the virtual Olympics and then they ran into like some trademark issues because apparently Olympics is trademarked. Imagine that, who saw that one coming? Marathon, Virtual Marathon, I think is what it is. But it's another Microsoft 365 free Virtual Marathon. I think that one's like 36 hours straight. And I've seen like, he's trying to get 900 live sessions over the course of 36 hours.

- That's gonna be quite a bit.

- Yes, we will find the link for that and put that in the show notes as well.

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- Those are all the events I have. Do you have any other ones that I didn't think of?

- No, we did just have the Virtual Azure Global Bootcamp, which passed. But lots of these sessions for that were recorded. So if anybody did miss the 2020 Azure Virtual Bootcamp, just hop on YouTube and search around for some of those videos and things that came out from all the wonderful speakers who put their time into it.

- All right, sounds good. Yeah, we didn't do much here because it was all virtual. So who knows if they do kind of an in person one later this year, maybe we'll try to jump on, maybe we'll just have to wait for round two and come back to it in 2021.

- It'll still be there.

- Yep, it will, hopefully I'll in person again. So there was also some news that came out these past few weeks, different things around Azure, some office 365 stuff, some Azure AD stuff, some that spans all of them like Windows Virtual Desktop. So we decided we'd just dive into some of these news articles that have our news announcements that have come out over the last few days. Take your pick. Which one would you like to start with?

- Let's see, I always like the identity stuff. I think they've done some good things there for customers, especially as some of the licensing has opened up like bringing Azure AD Premium P1 to the Microsoft 365 business here and things like that. And they're starting to open up the platform more and more for all customers. Which is always nice to see, especially in these times when everyone is working at home or remotely, or if anything, just on the go more than they are. I think that whole Zero Trust Model around identity and securing your identities and gating your access to all these resources, is super important. So one of the things they've done there is they've extended the ability to use Azure AD single sign-on for an unlimited number of cloud apps at no extra cost. And that's across every SKUs. So now in the past, you would have been limited in the number of cloud apps that you could add to a user. And then also the number that you could potentially perform SSO against your Azure Active Directory with. So this is using SSO with Azure AD, whether you're federated or unfederated. And like I said, it's available across all of the pricing tiers or SKUs of Azure AD, even Azure Active Directory free.

- Perfect, 'cause this used to be, I think the limit used to be 10, right? I think it was 10 apps.

- 10 apps, yeah but you were even limited within SKUs by how many apps you could have and some could have 10 cloud apps, but not SSO. And others could have 10 cloud apps with SSO. So now it's just open across the board, which is much nicer. I mean, it's more consumable. So you make those things more readily available and hopefully people actually use them. You know, that would be the next step is going out and getting folks to light up that feature and actually turn some of that stuff on.

- Well, and this is, like apps that are not native Office 365 apps to it. If you're doing third party apps or developing your own apps, this applies to those apps. Before it was like all the included apps were kind of excluded from those limits. They were all considered bundled in, but this is other apps that you set up SSL with, set up SAML authentication with, whatever he might be doing.

- I mean, it's interesting, like you talked about the Azure AD Premium coming to business and some of that, well, I get that some of these features cost Microsoft more money to let users use because of resources and whatever, by giving these to everybody, it's also helping Microsoft. Because the more people that roll this type of stuff out, the more secure the Cloud platform is gonna be. Because if everybody on Office 365 and Azure AD is using MFA, it's going to help Microsoft from a security perspective, protect their own platform by kind of minimizing those, their footprint, minimizing the security risks that are enabled by rolling these out to everybody and including them with all the plans.

- I also think it makes some of the security services more valuable. So if you look at the way Microsoft approaches machine learning for a couple of their different security products, if you think about risk-based sign-on with conditional access through identity protection, and even some of the features may be inside security products, like the Microsoft Threat Protection Suite or Azure Sentinel, things like that. They rely on signals. And the more signals there are, the better those services are going to become for everybody. In some cases yes, it's probably a little bit of loss on the money side, but it's potentially a gain in the features that you can offer in some of those other super sweet products that kind of build on top of everything that's there and make those true differentiators kind of across the market.

- Yeah, which there was another security. We'll keep moving on through the news. There was another security feature that there was a change to this past week. And that was the Microsoft Threat Protection is now gonna automatically be turned on for any eligible license holders effective June 1 of 2020. So approximately exactly one month from the day we're recording this. If you are licensed for Microsoft Threat Protection, which is, this isn't gonna be your lower SKU. So this is going to be Microsoft 365 E5, Microsoft 365 E5 Security, Windows 10 Enterprise E5, EMS E5, Office 365 E5. Are you getting the pattern here?

- Yes.

- And then some of those other plans like Microsoft Defender, Advanced Threat Protection, Azure Advanced Threat Protection, Cloud App Security, and then Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection Plan two.

- Some of those are interesting though, the E5s, they make total sense, but some of those like, Azure ATP was just a sub-SKUs of... 'Cause MTP is more of an overall, an overarching licensing suite that helps you bring alignment with unified reporting and some other things in there. But Azure ATP or Cloud App Security MCAS that Microsoft CASB, those were both just individual parts of that suite. Now they're saying, "Hey, if you purchase one part "of the suite, we'll give you the rest of it." So now they're saying if you have Cloud App Security and that's all you've done, you're gonna go ahead and enable some other features. Like you'll get features in Office 365 and ATP and an Azure ATP without having to do anything. Which simplifies that whole licensing thing.

- I was gonna say, just reading through this list, really reading through that list as I was listening to myself, say it out loud, I'm like, "Their naming and their licensing is getting "completely out of control." The fact that you have Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection, Azure Advanced Threat Protection, Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection Plan two, it is getting really hard to keep track of all of these SKUs and what's in these SKUs, and how these SKUs impact other SKUs, and all of that.

- Yeah, did you see the one about Planner going away and being renamed, Tasks, but it's gonna be renamed six other things along the way.

- I didn't see the six other things, but I did see that that is gonna be Tasks now.

- Yes, so as we roll out the Tasks experience on Teams, desktop clients, the app will initially appear as Planner to users. The name will then temporarily change to Tasks by Planner and To-Do, and later on, it will be renamed to Tasks. I think it's the first time I've ever seen. I've ever seen an announcement that of all the product renames in one place.

- Which I don't know why it wasn't Tasks originally because you know what the URL for Planner is, don't you?

- Yes.

- It's tasks.office.com. I mean, Tasks would have probably made sense right out of the gate. I don't know, but now people are gonna be, "Did you add it to Tasks?" And it's going to be, "Well, which Tasks? "My Outlook Tasks, which then go to To-Do, "which To-Do also pulls from Planner, "which is now gonna be Tasks." Or you have your Tasks in OneNote, like I get naming things after what they do. But if you're gonna name something after what it does, you can't have five or six or seven or eight things that all do the same thing and name them all the same thing.

- A task is a task, is a task, is a task, except when it's not a task.

- And that's only when it's in the Task app or one of the several Task apps.

- Nice and easy, right?

- That add-in 'cause I know, that add-in that I talked to you about earlier, it just crashed again. I've been having problems with Edge on macOS. Anybody else who's has had problems with the... I'm running the Canary Belt. That's probably my problem.

- Yeah, Canary's had some weirdness going on lately.

- Yes, especially in macOS. But that being said, I just lost all of my notes 'cause not only does Canary crash, it will not allow me to reopen it until I restart my computer.

- It's a feature.

- Something like that. So yes, guy will pull up some more links, but I am flying blind right now in terms of what I was gonna talk about. So Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection, that announcement was made. What is Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection? We talked about it's gonna be turned on, but we haven't actually mentioned what it is.

- I'll be darned if I know at this point. It's gotten kinda crazy out there with some of that stuff, especially when you consider some of the Defenders Threat Protection capabilities and how they integrate maybe with Intune and device management, and what you can push down on that side. That is a product that I too am waiting for clarity in.

- You would like to know what it does? So I have it running on my Mac 'cause they do have like the whole antivirus endpoint.

- Well, you have the EV component running on your Mac, but really it's more about that Cloud-based management and kind of all the other things that go into it.

- Yes, all of that as well. I lost all my articles, I'm trying to pull these all up while I'm talking. So yes, but it is going to be enabled. It's going to be on and it does, like you said, it varies. So there's a whole Microsoft... Well, then you have Windows Defender Advanced Threat protection too that ties into it. That's based on your SKU of Windows that you're running. There are a whole bunch of that go into it. We'll just put links in the show notes about Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection and let you guys go check out all of the capabilities that are not going to be enabled by default. Because I think SafeLink, Safe Attachments, they all fall under that umbrella too, don't they?

- They should, as far as I know. But who actually actually knows at that point?

- Maybe we should try to find somebody from the Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection team to explain it all to us.

- We should. We've had MIP folks before it, because for MTP and kind of that overall fish in there, 'cause it is interesting where it's been going. And once you do get in there and light all those products up, some of the new things that have happened over in security.office.com, particularly when it comes to like incident hunting, they are really cool.

- Yeah, we should, so if anybody that's listening is from that team or know somebody on that team that they can put us in touch with too, we'll go out and see if we can dig up somebody. But yeah, if somebody knows and wants to send them our way or make an introduction, we'll get them on the show and we'll talk about it.

- Just that easy.

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- So Teams, Teams has had an endless stream of new announcements and features. I feel like everybody started using it and all of a sudden they wanted all these features, Microsoft, it's like they prioritize a bunch of features all of a sudden.

- Huh? How did that happen?

- I don't know. I don't know why.

- When you have 44% usage growth in one month and then in the next calendar month, you go up another 70% over what was your new 100%. It gets interesting fast.

- Yes, and all of a sudden, like UserVoice. It's like, "Hey, this UserVoice went from, "like 100 votes to 10,000 votes "because all of a sudden everybody's using it "and wants these features." I don't know if there's actually a feature that did that, but it wouldn't surprise me.

- So good news, drum roll, you now get more than four by four in a Teams meeting. You get, I mean not four by four. Won't four by four be nice? You to get more than two by two. You now get three by three. We went from seeing four users at once, Scott to seeing nine.

- Yeah, you did and you can still pin people too. So when you go into those classrooms or you know, if you're a teacher out there and things like that, you can still just right-click and pin and get the big face in front of you. So you can do "The Brady Bunch" view of the world or you can go to a number nine. Coming to a tenant near you. I mean, Brandy it's not the, what can you do on Zoom? Can you do 50?

- Sorry, three by three.

- What can you do on Zoom? I think you can do 50 on one screen in Zoom.

- It goes up...

- Significantly higher.

- It goes up quite a bit, yeah.

- But I did see Microsoft is planning to bring more. I won't lie, I thought they were gonna go up higher than just two by two to three by three. I thought they said they were gonna try to do it so you could see everybody at once. But right now you can put 250 people in a Teams meeting. Can you imagine 250 people looking at all of them at once? It'd be like little thumbnails on most people's monitors.

- It would be like a Zoom meeting. That's what it would be like.

- Yeah, they also increased another feature. In that article was, they increased the number of participants that can take place in a live meeting. So live meetings we used to have a limit of 10,000 people for live meeting. They have doubled that to now allowing you to have 20,000 participants in a Team's live meeting.

- Yes, they have. Limits continue to rise there. It's an interesting one.

- Well, because that takes a lot of resources. Like I thought they were hurting for resources, unless they've kind of gotten a little bit of a handle on that. I was surprised to see that big of a jump in the live meeting attendees

- Resource availability has actually gotten quite a bit better. So not just for Teams things, but I'm even seeing in Azure, some of the restrictions are starting to be lifted, which is very nice.

- Yes, absolutely. It's nice to be able to start using some of this stuff to its full potential again.

- It's like all of a sudden I can create Azure SQL databases. I finally found one of my articles again.

- What else was there? Simultaneous people raising hands is coming. So you're gonna be able to raise hand. Well, before we do raise hands, just on the limit thing, that is a temporary raise.

- Was that a temporary one?

- Yes. The defaults will raise until July 1st.

- Yes.

- And then in August they're going to officially make some changes. So they call out the 20,000 number, but they might settle on something else, you know, after that, if they see that there's huge uptake to the 20,000 number and all that.

- Yeah, it'll be interesting to see once all of this is done, how it changes companies views on remote-work. Or if people tend to work remotely more, if everybody's gonna be so tired of working remotely, everybody's gonna wanna go the office. Shall be interesting.

- I don't know, do you want to go to the office? I don't feel like I do. I'm good staying right where I am.

- I've been right where I am for the last, like 12 years anyways. So hasn't changed a whole lot for me. Background effect was interesting. This one just makes me laugh 'cause they announced background effects which you used to be able to blur, now you can add pictures and I think it was the, like they did this well, they really seating they're like, "We're not gonna allow you "to put your own custom pictures in, for governance reasons." Obviously, you never know what certain people may upload as a background image. I think that day they released this, all these articles came out about how you could just go into a certain directory on your computer and add your own custom images and have them in Teams. It took less than eight hours from when it was live to when, even though they didn't give you the option to do it in the browser, they made it really easy to do by just going to a certain path in your file system, on your C-Drive and adding pictures there.

- Yeah, I've been having a bunch of fun with that one. Made my wife's the envy of all her friends at school.

- Have you seen the articles about people that took, like a screenshot or a picture of them sitting in their office and then they put that as their background picture and they're not actually at the meeting. It's just their picture.

- Yeah, that's a thing that has happened as well. You give somebody a tool and they will absolutely take advantage of it.

- That, they will. Call recording, I mean there's a bunch we'll link to the show notes. There were some updates around devices, a few meeting control changes. Most of the other ones were small. You can do things like put system audio now into a live meeting. So if you wanna play a video and feed that audio back into your live meeting to send it out to everybody, you can do that. But I think that kind of hits some of the big Team's announcements that came out in the month of April.

- Yeah, that'll probably wrap up most of them, like you said, a lot of that stuff just roadmap anyway. So it'll be filtering out. The nice thing is they've been filtering out much quicker, like you brought up.

- Any other news topics you want to cover today before we wrap up.

- Well, since we're talking about end users things, I think a good one to talk about might be some impacts to how end users interact with Azure AD. So there's a couple new experiences that are coming. So all of the new "My URLs" of Azure AD have lit up. So if you've ever pushed out things like My Apps to your users, there's gonna be a new URL and effectively a new UI coming to that. So my applications.microsoft.com is live today and ready to go. So it's kind of like My Apps, but it lets you group your applications by workspaces. They've simplified access management requests. So things that might come through privileged identity management are now gonna be consolidated and available at myaccess.microsoft.com. Sign in information is consolidated at My Sign-ins. That one's actually been out there and kicking around a while. And there's also the new, myworkaccount.microsoft.com, which brings forward kind of what would have been your account portal inside of M365 or O365. So you roll that out, that's all the new look and feel. And then you've also got the new MFA, SSPR consolidated signing experience and things like that. So if you have some downtime and you're at a help desk or you know, you're working with your end user community, and now's a good time to update some of your documentation because now that the URLs are all out there and all live, you can go ahead and get up to date screenshots and everything you might need.

- Yeah, these are nice. The, My Applications one, there's My Groups where I can do groups and...

- So My Applications is an interesting one. That's a UI that's going to be surfaced in two places. So it's going to be at myapplications.microsoft.com. And then you can also go into office.com into the app launcher and you could get to all your apps there. So the UI there is going to stay almost the same as it is today. But when you go into All Applications, you're gonna have access to that same grouping concept with the workspaces.

- Got it, well, it looks like when you go start doing the groups that actually takes you over to your, it's a URL under youraccount.activedirectory.windowsazure.com

- Makes total sense, right?

- Yeah, it's kind of like the number of admin portals.

- Just a few of those.

- I forgot how many different Office 365 tenants I'm a member of, because on that My Applications tool lets you go, you can do a drop down and look at all of the organizations. So you can jump to see all of your apps between all the different tenants you're a part of. My list got rather long.

- It does creep up.

- How many you are in, you go through and look at it and you're like, "Oh, they never actually removed me. "I'm still a guest in their tenants somewhere, or?" Those are some good URLs to know about to bookmark.

- I have quite a few of those kicking around.

- Well, since we had a longer one last week, should we wrap this one up sort of on time?

- All right, just for giggles let's do it.

- Let's do it. We can go back and do some more real work.

- Yes, it's Arm Template Friday.

- All right, I'm going to go play with Azure. I've been playing with Azure more. I've been playing with Windows Virtual Desktop and domain controllers and IS so I'm going to go back and play in Azure some more this afternoon.

- All right, sounds like a plan.

- All right, go enjoy your afternoon, don't work too hard and we will talk to you again next week, Scott.

- Thanks Ben.

- If you enjoyed the podcast, go leave us a five star rating in iTunes. It helps to get the word out so more IT pros can learn about office 365 and Azure. If you have any questions you want us to address on the show or feedback about the show, feel free to reach out via our website, Twitter or Facebook. Thanks again for listening and have a great day.

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