Well it’s conference time again, this time it is the big boy, Microsoft Ignite. Today Microsoft made some announcements and released a few updates about SharePoint and Office 365 that are really really important for us to all know.

I have broken the changes into the following groups to make it easier to follow.

OneDrive for Business

Some great announcements were made today, really focused heavily on improving the sync process for all files as well as the mobile experience.

New sync capabilities include:

  • Ability to sync SharePoint Online document libraries and OneDrive folders shared with you (preview available today).
  • An “activity center” has been added to the OneDrive sync client to allow you to view synchronization and file activity at a glance (preview available today).

New browser capabilities include:

  • Rich thumbnails and previews for over 20 new file types (rolling out before the end of 2016).
  • Ability to access and edit all your files in OneDrive and SharePoint Online from the OneDrive browser client (rolling out before the end of 2016).
  • Capability to download multiple files as a .zip file (rolling out before the end of 2016).

New mobile capabilities include:

  • Notifications to your iOS or Android device when someone shares a OneDrive file with you (available today).
  • Access to SharePoint Online files in the OneDrive app on Android (available today).
  • Multi-page scan enhancements in the OneDrive app on Android (available today).
  • Ability to see over time how many people have discovered and viewed your files in OneDrive for iOS (available today).

New IT capabilities include:

  • Enhancements to integration with Office 2016 (available in First Release).
  • Simple, flexible OneDrive user management in Office 365 (available in First Release).
  • Dedicated OneDrive administration console in Office 365 (rolling out before the end of 2016).

More details can be found here: http://blogs.office.com/2016/09/26/sharepoint-online-sync-preview-headlines-ignite-announcements-for-onedrive/

More details about the mobile announcements can be found here: https://blogs.office.com/2016/09/26/enriching-the-mobile-and-intelligent-intranet-with-team-news-apps-for-android-and-windows-and-more/

People Experiences

Microsoft announced the rollout of new innovative people experiences:

  • A new Delve app for Windows 10 desktop and mobile (available today)
  • People cards that surface profile information and content throughout Office 365 (rolling out now)
  • Updates to the Office 365 profile (rolling out to first release today)

With the new Delve Windows 10 app you can:

  • Stay in the know and discover what your colleagues are working on with badges and notifications.
  • Find relevant documents and email attachments based on people you know.
  • Get back to important documents you’re actively working on.
  • Locate expertise and learn more about colleagues relevant to you.

Install the Delve app for Windows 10 today.

You’ve probably seen contact cards in Outlook. This update brings intelligent, Delve-like experiences to Office 365 apps (like SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business), right in the context of your work. When you hover over a person’s name or image, people cards expand to reveal contact information, organizational relationships and documents they have been working on.

People cards have already begun to appear in Outlook on the web, and they are rolling out now within SharePoint Online team sites, document libraries, lists and OneDrive for Business. You, too, can access the same valuable information and insight through people within the SharePoint and OneDrive mobile apps. See a person’s name or photo, and simply click or tap to learn more about them and the work they do. People cards are within reach where you are working and will help you prepare and stay informed throughout your day.

As well as creating and enabling the people cards, Microsoft also made it much easier to edit your profile, to add value to how people discover you and your content. Listing projects, skills and education history to your profile is a great help to others who don’t know you yet. The updated profile editing experience makes it easier to keep your information fresh and updated with a few clicks and keystrokes Smart search results in Delve are organized into sections for people, documents and boards—making it easier to find exactly who and what you’re looking for. This is a more intuitive experience to find people by expertise, title or location. As your profile fills up with more important business information, expertise search and discovery becomes more valuable throughout the company.

You can learn more about your Office 365 Profile to better connect and collaborate in Office 365. More details can be found here: https://blogs.office.com/2016/09/26/connect-to-expertise-and-content-with-new-people-experiences-throughout-office-365/

 

 

Server and Security

Microsoft has made some investments in five core pillars:

 

  • Platform security—Protect information at rest and in transit with layered encryption, Microsoft datacenter procedures and customer controls for access and key management.
  • Secure access and sharing—Ensure sensitive data remains secure with managed access and sharing settings.
  • Awareness and insights—Track account and file activity with full transparency using reports and alerts.
  • Information governance—Govern your data retention, discovery and deletion policies.
  • Compliance and trust—Leverage Microsoft’s continuous compliance, ongoing certification and transparent operations.

Today at Ignite, Microsoft announced the next wave of innovations that give you more control over your company’s valuable information and intellectual property:

  • Conditional access policies that govern access to files based on endpoint location (available today).
  • Granular conditional access policies based on the managed state of a device (available by end of year).
  • New Office 365 datacenter locations in Germany and Canada, extending our industry leadership in the number of distinct global regions to meet your compliance needs (available today in Canada and by end of year in Germany).
  • Customer-controlled SharePoint and OneDrive encryption keys (available by end of year).
  • Site classification that guides users to understand the value and sensitivity of information and can be extended to apply classification-specific security configuration (available by end of year).
  • Unified auditing across site collections in Office 365 and on-premises SharePoint Server 2016 with Feature Pack 1 (available in November 2016).

Conditional access in SharePoint and OneDrive goes beyond user permissions: it is based on a combination of factors, such as the identity of a user or group, the network that the user is connected to, the device and application they are using, and the type of data they are trying to access. The access granted to the user adapts to this broader set of conditions.

Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite allows you to customize the definition of a managed device to fit the needs of your organization. You can either grant full access, prevent all access or allow restricted access from unmanaged devices. The new restricted access policy allows a user to view a file in their browser but does not allow them to download, print or sync. This allows users to be productive on personal, unmanaged devices, but at the same time, prevent accidental leakage of data to devices that are not managed by the organization. When you set any of these policies, you also default to blocking access from legacy apps that can’t enforce device-based restrictions.

Finally, Microsoft also announced upcoming availability of customer-controlled encryption keys, sometimes referred to as “bring your own key.” Customer-controlled encryption keys provide an additional layer of security and privacy above that which is already supplied by Microsoft. You can use customer-managed “master keys” to encrypt/decrypt the individual encryption keys used to encrypt each file. You can also decide to change or revoke access to these keys to guarantee that Microsoft has no way to access encrypted files.

To secure even more, using the new site classification feature, you can apply a custom label to a SharePoint site and its associated Office 365 group. The label identifies the sensitivity of the information for the site and group. The site classification appears in the header of the site and group pages and serves as a reminder to users that your organization has guidance regarding the use and sharing of information on the site.

The site classification is a property that can be accessed programmatically, so you can script reporting or the application of additional security policies. Site classification will enter First Release in October. You will be able to select a classification when provisioning a site and group from SharePoint home, and you will see the site classification in the header of site and group pages.

In the future, we will give you the ability to link Office 365 information policies directly to site classification, without the need for script or code.

For me as an IT Pro and one who enjoys and like Security, SharePoint unified auditing is fantastic. It combines data from the cloud and on-premises for complete audit reporting in one unified console in the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center. Unified auditing will be enabled for on-premises customers as part of SharePoint Server 2016 Feature Pack 1 in November 2016. After Feature Pack 1 is enabled, you will have the option to join the public preview using the hybrid configuration wizard in SharePoint Online administration.

Once enabled, auditing data from on-premises is available in the Security and Compliance Center, as shown below.

Of course this leads into the announcement made for the release of the feature pack for SharePoint 2016 On-Premises. This pack will contain the following pieces:

  • Logging of administrative actions performed in Central Administration and with Windows PowerShell.
  • Enhancements to MinRole to support small environments.
  • A new OneDrive for Business user experience.
  • Custom tiles in the SharePoint app launcher.
  • Unified auditing across site collections on-premises and in Office 365.
  • Unified taxonomy across on-premises and Office 365.
  • OneDrive API 2.0.

To go along with these core things, MinRole has got some love based on our feedback, yes that’s right customer feedback has made these changes.

Once the new MinRole enhancements are enabled, you will notice that two additional server roles are available: “Front-end with Distributed Cache” and “Application with Search” The Front-end with Distributed Cache role combines the Front-end and Distributed Cache roles together, while the Application with Search role combines the Application and Search roles together. These new roles let you host a multi-server MinRole farm with just two servers or four servers with HA.

This is a great enhancement that will allow better designed architectures. To Add to this, Hybrid enhancements have been added too.

Unified auditing—Unified auditing gives SharePoint administrators detailed visibility into file access activities across all site collections, on-premises and in Office 365. With unified auditing in place, the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center can provide audit logs search for your SharePoint Server 2016 on-premises audit logs in addition to Office 365 audit logs.

This hybrid auditing capability—powered by Microsoft SharePoint Insights—enters preview with Feature Pack 1. Configuration is simple: a few clicks in Hybrid Scenario Picker wizard and you’re ready to start viewing and experiencing unified auditing.

Learn more about hybrid auditing (preview), powered by Microsoft SharePoint Insights.

Unified taxonomy—SharePoint’s managed metadata service application makes it possible to create a taxonomy for information architecture across site collections and web applications. With Feature Pack 1, you can implement a unified taxonomy across a SharePoint Server 2016 farm and Office 365. You can seed the term store in SharePoint Online from your on-premises term store and then manage your taxonomy in SharePoint Online. Replication to on-premises SharePoint is performed by the hybrid taxonomy feature.

Learn more about the hybrid taxonomy (preview) feature.

Feature Pack 1 features will be generally available November 2016. To learn more about the Feature Pack process, there is a session later this week called BRK2047 Explore Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016 and Beyond.

To learn more about the Feature Pack release you can read here: https://blogs.office.com/2016/09/26/announcing-feature-pack-1-for-sharepoint-server-2016-cloud-born-and-future-proof/

To learn more about the Security updates and controls you can read here: http://blogs.office.com/2016/09/26/enhanced-conditional-access-controls-encryption-controls-and-site-classification-in-sharepoint-and-onedrive/

So let’s just recap some of the core announcements made by Jeff Teper:

  • A significant update to the OneDrive browser experience, so that you can find, access, share and collaborate on all your files in Office 365.
  • OneDrive sync preview for SharePoint Online document libraries and folders shared with you.
  • Team news to keep your team up to date and informed of what matters.
  • People cards in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business that intelligently surface content and details from your colleagues’ profiles.
  • New integration with Microsoft Flow, PowerApps and Yammer.
  • Preview of the SharePoint mobile apps for Windows 10 Mobile and Android.
  • Enhancements for developers including new sites and lists APIs in Microsoft Graph.
  • New security controls including site classification and conditional access based on location and device.
  • Feature Pack 1 for SharePoint Server 2016.
  • Expanded FastTrack services and tools to support hybrid configurations and migration.

All in all, a great start to the Microsoft Ignite Conference. I am sure there will be even more details released throughout the week, so stay tuned for more.

For the latest updates, follow these twitter account this week:

@sharepoint @office365 @OfficeDelve @onedrive @jeffteper @sethpatton @adamharmetz @danholme @williambaer @cmcnulty2000 @mkashman @reubenk