Pushed back from its normal summer schedule to early fall, Microsoft’s last TechEd conference TechEd Europe 2014 could have been a ho hum affair. Evidently, Microsoft had different plans.

In a slew of announcements at TechEd Europe 2014 in Barcelona, Microsoft has raised the bar significantly to make Office 365, the cloud-based productivity service, an almost irresistible proposition for customers.

But before we dive into today’s announcements, consider an important announcement Microsoft made yesterday:

1. Unlimited cloud-based storage for Office 365 customers

In April this year, Microsoft raised the storage limit in OneDrive for Business, it’s cloud-based storage service included in Office 365, to 1 Terabyte.

Yesterday, the company announced that OneDrive for Business users will get unlimited storage. What this means for customers: unlimited storage in the cloud, data accessible from anywhere, lower storage costs, and the error-prone processes of backup and disaster recovery outsourced to the service. Users can also keep a local copy of the data so it’s synchronized with OneDrive and available offline on one or more computers.

Unlimited cloud-based storage at no additional cost removes one more reason to keep data local-only.

Let’s take a quick look at what Microsoft announced in Barcelona today.

2. Mobile Device Management for Office 365

Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) has offered basic mobile device management (MDM) capabilities in the form of Exchange ActiveSync Policies, rechristened Mobile Device Policies with wave 15 (Exchange Online and Exchange Server 2013). In Barcelona, Microsoft announced new MDM capabilities in Office 365 to allow you to secure information on devices running  operating systems.

  • Multi-Platform: The new MDM capabilities allow you to secure information on all major mobile platforms – Apple iOS, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone.
  • Protection beyond email: The new MDM functionality goes beyond email and protects both email and documents.
  • Selective wipe of Office 365 data: Whereas Exchange ActiveSync client implementations wipe the entire device, including a user’s personal information, documents and photographs, the new selective wipe functionality only wipes Office 365 corporate data.
  • Single management console: The new MDM capabilities in Office 365 can be managed from within the Office 365 portal. As demo’ed in this Garage Series video, MDM is a part of the new Compliance Console in Office 365, removing the need to learn and use yet another management interface.

3. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for SharePoint and OneDrive for Business

Exchange Online and Exchange Server 2013 introduced Data Loss Prevention (DLP), a security and compliance feature that allows you to configure policies to protect sensitive information including PII and HBI in email and prevent such information from leaving your organization. What really makes this feature truly remarkable is the pre-canned DLP templates that allow you to quickly apply policies to comply with regulations such as HIPPA and PCI, and built-in definitions of sensitive information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and driver’s license numbers.

The new DLP functionality works across SharePoint and OneDrive for Business.

4. Advanced encryption at rest with per-file encryption

In Barcelona, Microsoft announced advanced per-file encryption of data at rest in Office 365, including files in OneDrive for Business. As the name suggests, the technology encrypts each file in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business with its own unique key, greatly reducing the risk of unauthorized access to such content. Needless to say, this is a major security enhancement. Customers should wait for more details on the implementation and decide whether it meets or exceeds their security requirements.

Privacy and security of information stored in the cloud has been a major concern and perhaps a blocker for some organizations. Office 365 offers some great Security and Compliance features. The addition of advanced encryption will go further in addressing these concerns.

This week has seen Microsoft announce major new functionality to Office 365 that makes this cloud service the one to beat.

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Synchronize your PowerShell Profile with OneDrive

by Bharat Suneja on September 24, 2014

I make frequent changes to my PowerShell profile and like to have the same PowerShell envirnoment on all computers that I use PS from. To accomplish this, I used to copy the PowerShell profile to a folder on OneDrive (previously known as SkyDrive) and copy it back to the WindowsPowerShell folder on other computers – first, manually, and then using a script.

But there’s an easier way to have a single copy of your PowerShell profile and store it on OneDrive. This method allows PowerShell to automatically use the synchronized version on OneDrive. If you make changes to the profile, you no longer have to worry about copying the updated local version to OneDrive (manually) or sync/copy the updated version from OneDrive to all computers.

If you’re thinking about how complicated this solution is going to be, you can discard that thought right now! If simple solutions make you happy, this should make you jump with joy.

The caveat with this approach, if it can be called that: Changes AND Deletions are synced to all computers where you set it up.

Folder or file Default path
Windows user profile C:\Users\<username>
PowerShell profile file C:\Users\<username>\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Microsoft.PowerShell_profile.ps1
Microsoft OneDrive folder C:\Users\<username>\OneDrive

Here’s how it works:

1. Install OneDrive If you don’t have OneDrive app installed on your computer (it’s included on Windows 8 and later), install it.
2. Create a WindowsPowerShell folder on OneDrive Navigate to your OneDrive folder (the cached copy on your local drive) and create a WindowsPowerShell folder here.

By default, the OneDrive app synchronizes your data to the OneDrive folder in your user profile (Default: C:\users\<username>\OneDrive). I change mine to a root level folder (for example: C:\Bharat\OneDrive) to make it easier to type.

3. Rename the WindowsPowerShell folder in your user profile If you have a WindowsPowerShell folder in the Documents folder in your profile (C:\users\<username>\Documents\WindowsPowershell), rename it to something like WindowsPowerShell-BAK.
4. Create a symbolic link Create a symbolic link called WindowsPowerShell in the Documents folder and point it to the WindowsPowerShell folder in your OneDrive folder.

mklink /D “WindowsPowerShell” c:\Bharat\OneDrive\ps\WindowsPowerShell

5. Rinse and repeat on your other computers.

Now start PowerShell. If you have a PowerShell profile in the OneDrive folder, it’ll load by default. Any changes made to the profile will sync to the other computers.

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The Garage Series show from MEC 2014: What’s New in Exchange 2013 SP1…

May 7, 2014

I’ve been participating in the Garage Series shows with host Jeremy Chapman. Most shows are recorded live at Microsoft events such as TechEd, TechReady (an internal Microsoft technical event), Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC) and Microsoft SharePoint Conference, on the road (some recent ones have been in Prague and Hong Kong). You can find the shows […]

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Connection Filtering and RBLs in Exchange 2013

April 17, 2013

Exchange 2003 and later have included Connection Filtering in its repertoire of built-in anitspam tools. In Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010, this is implemented using the Connection Filtering agent, a transport agent. Connection Filtering agent offers the following functionality: IP Allow List and IP Block List: Static lists of IP addresses you can populate to […]

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Make Bing the default search engine in Firefox address bar

March 19, 2013

I like Bing for a number of reasons. If you don’t prefer Bing, this is not a sales pitch to make you change your search habits. I’ll leave that to the Bing team with BING IT ON, the Bing Challenge commercials et al. Bing offers a better user experience. I also believe Microsoft has better […]

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Windows PowerShell 3 Wins InfoWorld’s 2013 Technology Of The Year Award

January 15, 2013

Windows PowerShell 3 has won InfoWorld’s 2013 Technology of the Year award. Finally, InfoWorld editors have discovered what IT pros have known for a long time – PowerShell is simply the most powerful yet easy-to-use management tool out there on any platform! The third time is definitely the charm for PowerShell, which provides the engine […]

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Change mailbox audit logging age limit in Exchange 2010 and later

January 9, 2013

In Exchange 2010 and later, you can use Mailbox Audit Logging to enable auditing of mailboxes for actions taken by mailbox owners, delegates and administrators. You can log events such as mailbox access, folder access, item access, deletes, hard deletes, moves, etc. For details, see Mailbox Audit Logging in Exchange 2013 documentation. By default, mailbox […]

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Remove a mobile device from your Exchange account

December 20, 2012

Most users switch to new mobile devices or add new ones. Over a period of time, your Exchange mailbox may have quite a few mobile devices. If you’re not using a smartphone or other Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) device (including Windows 8/Windows RT tablets, Apple iPad or other iOS devices), you can remove it from your […]

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WMF 3.0, Microsoft Exchange and patch management

December 18, 2012

Last week Microsoft released Windows Management Framework 3.0, a key management component that includes WinRM 3.0 and Windows PowerShell 3.0. If you’ve been running a version of Exchange 2007 or later, you may already know that these components (PowerShell for Exchange 2007, and both WinRM 2.0 and PowerShell 2.0 for Exchange 2010) are prerequisites for […]

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Create bulk mailboxes in Exchange 2010 (or Exchange 2013/Exchange 2007)

December 4, 2012

I used to save code snippets as blog posts earlier. Resuming the practice, so don’t be alarmed by lack of text in this post. If you want to see detailed posts about creating bulk mailboxes, check out these previous posts: Bulk mailbox-enabling users using Exchange Shell in Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2007 Exchange Server 2007: […]

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