Microsoft Flow latest updates for October 2016

The new era of workflow automation was introduced recently as Microsoft flow in Office365. I have been in the preview program and the functionality is fantastic so far.

General Availability of Microsoft Flow (You are set to go production)

GA

Microsoft announced today about the general availability of Flow which would be within this quarter. that’s a great news and we can expect the availability of Flow in 7 different geographies. with this release, you can use Microsoft Flow for production purposes.

Flow will have several options for you to chose, Free and paid depends on your usage scenarios.

Dynamic AX Integration Support

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Flow will now support Dynamics AX integration for you to perform actions such as copying data from external systems in to Dynamics AX.

More new services

Flow

Blogger and PageDuty services are now supports in Flow. Page duty is a helpdesk tool that used by support teams to dispatch service requests and it can be integrated with Microsoft Flow.

Announcing the new Microsoft and Open Source Partner Community

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It’s known for years now that Microsoft’s affair with Open source. Day by day this bound has been grown and now it’s obviously a blessed marriage. Microsoft’s one of the biggest strength is partner and technical community eco system. Unlike any other parties, Microsoft has done a lot to build the community eco system which connects every individual in the world with products and technologies in various ways.

In the other hand, Open source parties had this flaw where the community and support contribution to the product stack were very low.

Azure grown unbelievably faster unlike any other cloud service in past few years and open source migrations to the Azure has increased massively. Infect 1 in 3 VMs in Azure are Open source. This drastic growth rang the bells to Microsoft for the next button to be pressed. While open source resources are being moved to Azure, it is also a critical point to implement connectivity between open source vendors, partners and technical communities with Microsoft Partners and Technical Communities. This is a long due marriage which could have happened before but finally here we are.

At Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2016, Microsoft announced the launch of Microsoft and Open Source partner community on Microsoft Partner Network, the place for us to connect and collaborate with the vast and diverse ecosystem of partners who develop and distribute open source solutions and services on Microsoft Azure.

This community is open to discuss about diverse range of open technologies runs on Azure. It will allow anyone to stay tuned with updates, Share information on various criteria’s of open technologies and even to simply start a discussion on your own topic which shall be responded by the community.

Eventually, Microsoft has implemented another bridge between open source and Microsoft community across the globe. 

Original Announcement on MPN

Azure AD Conditional Access for Office 365 (Exchange and SharePoint Online) Preview Release

Yesterday Microsoft announced one of the most awaited feature for Office 365, “Azure AD Conditional Access Preview” for SharePoint Online and Exchange.

What is Conditional Access and What it is for ?

Security has been one of the key elements in systems for decades but for the present time it needs to be much more comprehensive than ever before with the evolvement of the cloud and mobile era. With the rise of devices used by a person and the ability to access corporate resources from anywhere in the world, there is a massive demand of securing corporate resources. Ultimately the latest strategies of securing corporate resources are defined by the new ways which users are used to accessed them.

Microsoft has taken another big leap of security capabilities with this release today. Azure Active Directory Conditional Access Features Allows you to secure and manage your corporate resources in simple ways in cloud or even on premise. If you want to ensure an stolen user credential or unmanaged device will not harm your corporate resources, Azure AD Conditional Access if made for you.

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How is the access Enforced

Generally when a user signs in to a service, Azure Active Directory checks whether the security inputs of this user meets the access requirements you defined. and if the requirements are met, user will be authorized to access the service or application.

The enforcement can be done in two ways. You can define policies to configure the access either way, for users or devices.

  • User based Access (Control who you want to allow access)

User Attributes – User Attributes level can be used to define policies of which users can access organization’s resources.

Group Membership of a User – or either based on the Group/Groups of user which he/she represents in.

Multifactor Authentication (MFA) – Multifactor Authentication can be configured to ensure better security. User has to provide more than one factor (Password) which could be either a PIN or Phone Number. That ensures extra level of security for your organization’s resources.

Sign-in and User Risk – This capability known as “Conditional Access Risk Policies” comes with Azure AD Identity protection. This will allow you to track unusual sign in activities and risk events based on the access trends and implement advance protection. Global and Multi-region companies will benefit a lot with the capability.

  • Device Based Access (Control what you want to allow access)

Enrolled Devices – Using Microsoft Intune, you can use Device Level Access to control only MDM (Mobile Device Management) Enrolled devices are allowed to access resources. Intune is capable to validate if the device is enrolled with MDM. Also device level access will ensure that only the matched devices with the policies (such as force file encryption on a granted device) you have configured are allowed to access. Even you can flush out the content of a device remotely which was stolen or misused using MDM solutions.

The best part is, It’s not just limited to the cloud, you can also use device based access policies to control your on premise resources or even cloud based SaaS or line of business applications.

What does this Preview Brings you?

This release is a much awaited capability for most of the organizations and a huge step on the Access Policy framework. Conditional Access for CRM and Yammer been already there but Specially for SharePoint and exchange, the call has been ringing there for quite long time.

These three conditions are released for SharePoint and Exchange online as preview. Microsoft Recommends to enable these policies alongside risk based conditional access policy available with Azure Identity Protection.

  • Always require MFA
  • Require MFA when not at work
  • Block access when not at work

Conditional Access Policies are supported in Browser based access to Exchange Online, SharePoint Sites and OneDrive and even for Desktop Applications that uses modern authentication mechanisms.

Across the mobile devices, these are the tested desktop and mobile applications connects to Exchange and SharePoint so far by Microsoft.

  • For Windows 10, Windows10 Mobile, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 and Mac
  • Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint in Office 2016
  • Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint in Office 2013 (with modern authentication enabled)
  • OneDrive Sync Client (with modern authentication)

For IOS

  • Outlook Mobile App

Resources:

Detailed Explanation of Azure Ad Conditional Access

Conditional Access Policy Support for Mobile Devices

Original Announcement

SharePoint 2016 Hybrid Options and Your Leap Towards Cloud

This is the part 1 of my Series: SharePoint 2016 Hybrid Options and Your Leap Towards Cloud

With the latest announcement of SharePoint 2016 releases in last few months, Hybrid has been the most popular word across the community and users. There are various scenarios and requirements yet Microsoft on its way of concluding this.

However, not to be surprised much because Hybrid isn’t that new ! It’s been there for 2013 as well.

First of all, What is Hybrid ?

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The name says it all. Hybrid is when you have some set of SharePoint services runs On-Premise and some on cloud. This isn’t new in SharePoint as it has been already there from 2013 as well. Microsoft has made it much more broader and robust with SharePoint 2016.

Ladder towards the cloud (What’s Hybrid in SharePoint Perspective?)

Some of the organizations may not have an interest yet in going completely cloud based but to keep a foot on it with few services and that’s where SharePoint 2016 going to play a big role. SharePoint 2016 has been introduced to make that leap easier by providing better tools.

Hybrid Sites

Hybrid Sites allows you to keep some SharePoint sites on-premise and some on the cloud (Office 365 ultimately). As Regulatory Compliance is the main point blocks many organizations (Specially Government Entities) of moving to the Cloud, Hybrid Sites would be the strength to move forward.

A Simple Example: If ABC Corp has an intranet Built on SharePoint On-Premise and there are many legal and finance records stored in some of the sites in it. In this scenario Regulatory Compliances block ABC crop from moving to cloud entirely. Using Hybrid Sites capability, ABC can host selected set of Sites in Office 365 (SharePoint Online) and let the other (Legal and Finance) sites remain in On-Premise.

Hybrid Profiles

With Hybrid Profiles you don’t need to have a heavy On-Premise SharePoint Setup with User Profiles Services running on it. Instead just let the Office 365 play that role for you so that you can make your servers light weight and lesser management overhead. Having the Profile in Cloud will also a huge benefit as you will get the latest updates that Microsoft deploys to Office 365.

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Having User profiles on Cloud will also benefit (Depends on the O365 Plan Mostly) users with latest features such as Planer. Planner is the latest replacement of “My Task” SharePoint feature which is now available in Office 365. This feature hits the ceiling of User adoption and productivity indeed.

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With “Planner” my tasks and timeline is nicely presented and made user friendly. Isn’t this gorgeous dashboard impresses you to have your tasks over here ?

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Hybrid OneDrive

Depends on your Decision to host services either On-Premise or Cloud, OneDrive can sit anywhere you want. If ABC Corp do not want to expose their user’s content to the cloud, they can keep OneDrive (MySites Ultimately) On-Premise. Or simply go for Office 365 and let it host the service so that there is no additional storage cost or management overhead for ABC Corp.

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App Launcher Becomes Hybrid Ultimately

App Launcher was introduced in to SharePoint 2016 now. This was one of the attraction used in office 365 to make the navigation of Apps easier. With the configuration of Hybrid Services, you will get the App Launcher of your In-Premise SharePoint Portal modified accordingly. Each link will direct your users to relevant destinations without hassling around.

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Hybrid Search What if you could get a single Unified Result set even though you have content in On-Premise Sites and SharePoint Online Sites ? That’s the whole idea of Cloud Search Service application which delivers the capability of Crawling your On-Premise and Online content centrally yet unified. The Results Highlighted are from On-Premise Content and others from Cloud (SharePoint Online). Cloud Search Service Application is a ultimate Standout here.

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Lot more to write about and I will keep posting on configuration of Hybrid features soon as well. till then happy flying towards cloud folks !