3 Secrets to Getting the Most Business Value from Office 365

3 Secrets to Getting the Most Business Value from Office 365

We just did an entire webinar on how to get the most value out of Office 365 — and we did it all without mentioning a single feature. Not one.

How on Earth is that possible?

For the same reasons every technology project, ever, succeeds or fails: it isn’t about the speeds, feeds or special features. It’s about achieving a business use case and bringing value to end-users. Features are just the details to be worked out after!

[Read more…]

Important Notice about Certificate Expiration for Exchange 2013 Hybrid Customers

 Important Office 365 Certificate Update for Exchange 2013 with hybrid deployments

If you’re running Exchange 2013 and you’ve configured a hybrid deployment with Office 365, this post contains important information that might impact you. Please evaluate this information and take any necessary action before April 15, 2016.

On 19th February 2016, the Microsoft Exchange Team issued a technical advisory notice on the Exchange Team Blog.

On April 15 2016, the Office 365 TLS certificate will be renewed in the Office 365 datacenter. This certificate is used by Office 365 to provide TLS encryption between Office 365 and external SMTP servers. The new certificate, which will help improve the security of mail sent to and from Office 365, will be issued by a new Certificate Authority and it will have a new Issuer and Subject.

This change has the potential to stop hybrid mailflow between Office 365 and your on-premises Exchange servers if one of the following conditions applies to you:

  • Your on-premises Exchange servers are running Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update 8 (CU8) or lower.
  • You’ve upgraded the Exchange 2013 servers that handle hybrid mailflow to Exchange 2013 CU9 or higher. However, since upgrading to CU9, you HAVE NOT re-run the Hybrid Configuration wizard.

If one of the previous conditions applies to your organization, hybrid mailflow between Office 365 and your organization will stop working after April 15, 2016.  This only affects hybrid mailflow. Regular mailflow and TLS encryption is NOT affected.

Solution:

1. Use Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW)

  • If you are running Exchange 2013 CU8 or lower, follow these instructions to update to the latest version of Exchange 2013
  • When you update Exchange 2013, download the new HCW and run the wizard (Instructions are here)

2. Manual Update (if #1 fails)

  • Open Exchange Management Shell and within each Exchange 2013 server (hybrid mail flow only), run the following commands:

$rc=Get-ReceiveConnector |where {$_.TlsDomainCapabilities -like “*<I>*”}
Set-ReceiveConnector -Identity $rc.Identity -TlsDomainCapabilities “mail.protection.outlook.com:AcceptCloudServicesMail

3. Let Softchoice help you

  • We have Microsoft Exchange experts who can assist you with this, by scheduling a short virtual engagement to walk through this update with you or perform it for you. This typically doesn’t take longer than 2 hours.
  • We also recommend to take this opportunity to do a broader assessment of your Office 365 Exchange Online and On Premise hybrid deployment. We call this a Health Analyzer service that is designed to audit your features and functions configurations. Based on the results of that check, we then will provide you with recommendations and best practices. This engagement will typically last a day to 3 days depending on the scale of your environment and is typically done remotely.
  • Download this to learn more about our Office 365 services.

Did Microsoft just enter the telephony game? Plus, everything else you need to know about Office 365 E5

Did Microsoft just enter the telephony game? Plus, everything else you need to know about Office 365 E5

Enterprises now have access to the new Office 365 E5 Suite, Microsoft’s most comprehensive set of productivity, collaboration, analytics, security and compliance capabilities, of any Office 365 plan ever.

And while the premium SKU – which became available December 1, 2015 – brings with it some impressive new features, it’s the attractive price tag and new communications services that are causing the biggest waves. In E5, Microsoft is rolling out Cloud PBX and PSTN Conferencing services, designed to eliminate the need for legacy telephony systems and third party conferencing providers.

Coming in at $35 for the standard E5 plan, Microsoft estimates it costs just one-third of what enterprises are already paying for all the combined services.

[Read more…]

Why you should do more than just licensing with Office 365

Why you should do more than just licensing with Office 365

This is going to sound like a dumb question, but is Office 365 a cloud productivity solution? Or simply an easier way to license Microsoft apps across the enterprise?

Take a look around and the answer isn’t quite so clear.

While using the Office cloud suite has been shown to unlock a more connected, collaborative and efficient business, there is evidence that many organizations are simply not using it that way. Instead, they’ve bought Office 365 simply to take advantage of a more simplified licensing solution.

[Read more…]

How to prepare for Office 365 outages

How to prepare for Office 365 outages

Failing to plan for a cloud service outage is a plan to fail.

And with worker productivity and thousands of dollars on the line for every second of lost connectivity, this worst-case scenario is a costly one – unless the proper steps are taken upfront.

This is one topic top of mind with organizations, especially if you are running on Office 365. So what can they do to prevent and mitigate the risk of downtimes?

[Read more…]

Take a page from the CMO to drive Office 365 success

Take a page from the CMO for Office 365 success with personas

You might not think the CMO has much in common with the CIO. But as the role of IT morphs into a more user-centric, customer-first mentality, everyone in the innovation department might do well to look to the other side of the office for some inspiration.

And perhaps nowhere is this better exemplified than with personas.

What is a persona?

[Read more…]