Tags: , , , , | Categories: Cloud Posted by QBS on 2/13/2017 3:42 PM | Comments (0)

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Written by Kirk Koenigsbauer

February has been another busy month for releases across their Office clients on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. There are a number of exciting new capabilities in Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. In addition, they released the first cumulative feature update since the initial September release of the Office 2016 apps—otherwise known as the “Deferred Channel” build—for their commercial customers. Read on for the details.

Enhancing the Office experience on mobile devices

Microsoft are continuing to make Office on mobile devices even easier, more natural, fluid and contextual, so you can use Office to do more, faster, with whatever device you have in your hand.

  • Annotate with ink on Windows tablets—Last month they discussed the evolution of the inking experience in Office. Now you can use your pen, finger and the new tools in the Draw tab to naturally write, draw and annotate in Word, Excel and PowerPoint Mobile on Windows tablets (available initially to Office Insiders).

February Office 365 updates 1

Review and comment on documents with your pen or finger—no printing required.

  • Pin your docs to the Start menu on Windows phones and tablets—It’s even easier to pick up where you left off by pinning your favorite documents, spreadsheets, presentations and notes to the Windows Start menu. Get going in just a couple of taps!

February Office 365 updates 2 - BLOG

Pin your documents to the Start menu to get going in one tap.

  • Insert images using the camera on your phone or tablet— Office apps are now integrated with your device’s built-in camera, so you can capture images, crop and insert them directly into your documents on Windows and Android phones and tablets. This is available now in PowerPoint for Office Insiders and will be coming soon for Word and Excel.

February Office 365 updates 3

Capture and crop images directly into Office apps using the built-in camera on your Windows and Android phones and tablets.

  • Enabling partner storage to integrate in Office for iPhone and iPad—Last month, Microsoft announced the opportunity for all Cloud Storage Partner Program (CSPP) providers to integrate with Office for iOS. This integration is now available with Box in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Other partners are coming soon.

February Office 365 updates 4

Box integration is now available in Word, Excel and PowerPoint on iPhone and iPad.

Boosting Excel with more functions, charts and sharing options

They added more ways to manipulate, visualise and share your data with Excel. New functions make it simpler and faster to build common calculations and improved Formula AutoComplete helps you find the function you’re looking for (click here for more information). The launch of Excel 2016 brought you new chart types, such as Treemap, Sunburst and Waterfall. Now they added the Funnel chart for Windows desktops, tablets and phones, as well as Android, enabling you to display data in progressively decreasing proportions.

February Office 365 updates 5

The Funnel chart helps you display data in progressively decreasing proportions.

Microsoft are also making it easier than ever to share what you work on in Excel with others. Excel is now more integrated into the Power BI service. This means you can now pin your workbook’s rich formatted charts and graphs directly to your Power BI dashboards and interact with them from anywhere—giving you even more options for telling your story through data.

Pin your Excel workbook’s richly formatted charts and graphs directly to your Power BI dashboards.

Outlook improves connections with Office 365 Groups and adds one-click Archive

Outlook 2016 helps you stay connected with your Office 365 Groups by providing integrated access to your team’s shared inbox, shared calendar, OneNote notebook, OneDrive and more. Now they're making it even easier for commercial Office 365 customers to browse, join and create Office 365 Groups right from within Outlook 2016. They're adding a new Groups section to the ribbon with easy entry points to browse and join Office 365 Groups. Suggested Groups offer one-click access to relevant Groups you might like to join, personalised based on information in the Office Graph. You can also create new Groups from the ribbon.

February Office 365 updates 7 - BLOG

It’s even easier to browse, join and create relevant Office 365 Groups from within Outlook 2016.

Microsoft are also introducing an Archive capability in Outlook 2016 that lets you quickly move messages out of your inbox and into another folder. This will allow you to triage your inbox with an experience similar to archiving in other email services like Outlook.com. Archive is rolling out to Outlook 2016, coming soon for Outlook for Mac and available today in Outlook on iOS, Android and the web.

February Office 365 updates 8 - BLOG

Archive is coming to Outlook 2016 to help you triage your inbox more quickly.

Office for Mac updates

Office has addressed key customer feedback with improvements and new features for Office for Mac.

  • Morph is now part of PowerPoint for Mac—Morph is one of the latest PowerPoint tools that helps you create stunning presentations quickly. The Morph transition effect helps you easily transform and move several objects at once across slides.

February Office 365 updates 9

The Morph transition effect is now available in PowerPoint for Mac and the Quick Access Toolbar in the top-left is now customisable.

  • Customise the Quick Access Toolbar – In response to a top user request, Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Mac now allow you to customise commands in the Quick Access Toolbar. Pick your favorite commands (such as New, Print or Save) to show at all times in the top-left corner.
  • Faster updates—Office for Mac users who stay current can now download just the latest incremental changes since the last release. This means faster downloads of smaller update packages, with download sizes to drop even more in the coming months.

They've seen over 150,000 downloads of early builds of Office for Mac apps through the Office Insiders program since initial availability last month. If you haven’t joined yet, opt in to the Office Insider build from the Microsoft Auto Update (MAU) tool on your Mac. To learn more about Office Insider on Mac, go to Office.com/Insider.

Office 2016 build now available for commercial customers in Deferred Channel

Microsoft are releasing the first Office 365 Deferred Channel build, which is effectively the September 22, 2015 release of Office 2016 with four additional months of security updates included. Deferred Channel allows commercial customers to elect to receive cumulative packages of new Office features three times a year, instead of in monthly updates. This can be helpful for taking extra time to validate add-ins, macros, custom line-of-business applications, etc. Customers on Deferred Channel can get the new build of Office 2016 in the Office 365 User Software Page as well as the Office CDN.

Categories: Cloud Posted by QBS on 1/6/2017 3:40 PM | Comments (0)

Microsoft Logo

Written by Brandon Koeller

It seems logical to think that data you stored in a privately controlled datacenter is safer than data in the cloud. But that’s not necessarily true.
In fact, there is a broad range of security features that you benefit from when you put your data in a cloud service like Office 365. And when done right, data is more secure in the cloud than in on-premises servers.

Consider these added security benefits of data in the cloud:

  • Broader scope of threat intelligence: When a customer’s on-premises servers are attacked by an external actor, the customer can take steps to protect themselves from subsequent attacks from that same actor. But damage has been done. Even if they buy access to threat intelligence feeds, the scope of available intel is constrained and your response is reactive. With Office 365, instead of simply reacting to individual attacks, customers gain the benefit of intelligence gathered from threats against other customers within the service as well. An attack launched against any organization in Office 365 can functionally inoculate everyone else.

  • Greater automation and decreased human intervention: In the cloud, managing things like hardware, operating systems and patches boils down to a set of tasks that is familiar to any IT administrator. The biggest difference in the cloud is that to provide the service at scale, these tasks must be automated. The benefits of automation are two-fold. First, gaps in the security posture are addressed at scale. Second, with software operating the service instead of humans, there is less risk of falling prey to spear-phishing, offering an additional layer of protection. Manual management activities are minimal and must be approved by multiple people, which can include customers.

  • Better anomaly detection due to uniformity and simplicity: When cloud services started out, they were mostly based on the same on-premises products that you always used—except they were deployed and managed on servers owned by the provider. In recent years, cloud services have evolved to dramatically simplify configuration options, server roles and management complexity. This simplification gives services the ability to consolidate how they protect, detect and respond to threats. Since software is the main source of interaction, illicit activity by human attackers is easier to identify.

  • Constant innovation: Cloud security teams face two key pressures when building security capabilities: Every feature breaks at some scale, and every customer brings a particular set of concerns and requirements. We find that a robust set of well-designed and implemented capabilities can address most customer concerns, but the growth of the cloud service constantly challenges the design. A successful cloud security strategy requires us to innovate. One example is our approach to penetration testing. Some cloud services, including Office 365, have a full-time team of penetration testers who look for vulnerabilities. We asked ourselves how we would make sure that once the vulnerability has been fixed, it doesn’t recur, and that detections of illicit activity by penetration testers work for all instances of a given vulnerability. Our answer was to automate penetration testing attacks and then use that signal to verify the quality of our detections.

  • Smaller breach boundary: A key piece of an effective security strategy is to make your breach boundary is as small and as diverse as possible. Sensitive assets should be isolated from each other, so that it is more difficult for an attacker to move from one asset to another. Most companies draw their breach boundaries at the directory level. If an attacker can acquire domain admin privileges, they can access any information managed in that domain. When you adopt cloud services, it is more difficult for the attacker to breach your domain and gain access to any of the data in the cloud service beyond normal “front-door” access to the services which are audited. The delegation of management to a third party, in a real and impactful way, asserts a new breach boundary.

  • Cross-application security model: Traditional on-premises security capabilities center on the computer, the operating system and firewalls. In on-premises systems, you parse the logs for multiple applications and must make sense of what those logs mean. In the cloud, we standardize our logging systems to make them more consumable. You can evolve your security capabilities to enable an application-aware security model that adjusts to how attackers work—by breaching accounts, then achieving their goals through front-door interfaces. Cloud application services take your security to a new level by delivering integrated and context-aware security capabilities that cross application boundaries.

  • Transparency: With Office 365 in particular, there is one other benefit: transparency. With many organizations using Office 365, we are compelled to operate in the full light of day. To earn your business, we must have your trust, and to earn that we must be transparent with you about how we protect your data. To that end, we allow our customers to control how a Microsoft support engineer accesses their data. Our business model relies profoundly on the belief that there are no shortcuts and no excuses when it comes to the security of your data.

If you’ve been sitting on the fence about adopting the cloud, based on a set of objections relating to security in the cloud, these security benefits should help ease your concerns. If you want to learn more about Office 365, click here.

Categories: Cloud Posted by Derek Ian Vicente on 5/9/2012 11:30 AM | Comments (0)

When we say cloud, various terminologies come into play. Cloud may pertain to Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud Strife. It could also basically point out to the fluffy pillows shielding us against this ridiculous summer heat. But if you’re a business executive or IT decision-maker, the word cloud is the accurate delivering of services over the Internet.

Cloud computing provides businesses control over services and software that are important for steering operations in the right direction. More importantly, employees that use common applications at work can easily access them while on-the-road. The global availability of the Internet in public areas continues to support the burgeoning explosion of cloud computing as an integral component of benchmarking IT structure and stabilizing productivity.

My question is this: Is cloud computing for everybody to consume? The cloud computing department of Microsoft Philippines has recently unveiled a sleek new infographic that provides questions and answers (most are listed in numbers) of how companies are manipulating the power of the cloud in various means.


Now, this infographic looks very appealing, but it provides scant expositions relevant to the usage of cloud among companies nestled in the Philippines. These are some of the most relevant questions that I find relevant to my earlier query.

Which Cloud Based Productivity Application Do You Primarily For Personal Computing?

The survery-esque infographic shows that 64% of the participating respondent relies on Microsoft Office Web Apps in the productivity department. Office Web Apps is the complete storage of Microsoft’s prominent suite of office applications including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and One Note.

Sharing and deploying files becomes easier and manageable. For more serious enterprises, Office Web Apps looks to be the perfect public cloud companion for employees to store and secure documents. However, smaller businesses that are not really into intense file sharing have the option to allocate other resources into cloud applications that provide the same efficiency both in free and paid subscriptions.

There’s Dropbox for you and recently, Microsoft SkyDrive announced that it will be providing a whopping 25 GB storage upgrade for users who had registered for SkyDrive before April 22. Storing and sharing files are two of the chief functions why businesses invest in public cloud services, and this area of productivity is getting a lot of support mainly because the consumption of data has transcended corporate expectations for the last few years.

Actually, 67% of the respondents say that they use cloud computing primarily for storage.

Is Implementing Cloud A Priority For Your Company?

Shockingly, only 18% of the participating respondents answered cloud was their top IT priority, while 44% retorted back as cloud computing as one of their priorities. In a more global perspective, MarketWatch has reported that cloud computing accounts for 3% of global IT spending. This growth may be attributed of how cloud could actually eliminate additional hardware costs.

Theoretically, the 44% of the respondents aren’t actually giving in to the cloud’s mainstream penetration of IT. Subscription costs among service providers are still high. Services, software, and platforms hosted in the public cloud can be easily paralyzed during the event of a local or national Internet outage. These disadvantages present themselves as contributing factors why enterprises in the Philippines are not exactly confident in incorporating cloud into their daily business operations.

Do You Think Cloud Is A Costly Investment?

A large quantity of respondents (71% of them) replied that private cloud computing is the costly of them all. Data security, automation, and virtualization come at a very high price. The technology behind strict data management policing requires companies to shell out substantially large amounts of money. Authorization counts in any business. Private cloud computing is just like the Roman Catholic Church – it houses some of the most controversial religious artifacts and scriptures not open for public discernment and photography.

Nobody likes snooping in on sensitive data, and that’s why private cloud computing is expensive nowadays.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.

About Derek Ian Vicente

Derek Ian Vicente is a Search Executive with extreme passions for blogging, link building, and social media marketing. He also enjoys bleeding his eyes to death by playing video games during the weekends and play some more after he arrives back at work. Follow this geek on Twitter or flood his Facebook wall with lovely comments.

Categories: Backup, Cloud Posted by Leo Alvin Alexander on 3/19/2012 9:30 AM | Comments (1)

In today's age of constant communication and instant data sharing, it's become even more important than ever to have an accessible way to backup your data. This is not simply due to the much larger volume of data being sent today, but is also influenced by the security of these instant communications. After all, you can't get around the reality that freely sharing information creates a number of security risks. Either the system of your device could be corrupted or the data itself could be lost. These security risks make backing up your files a very important maintenance issue, and cloud backup is one of the best ways to accomplish this.

Backing up your data on the cloud makes this whole process much simpler in a number of ways. Not only is it a very low-cost backup option, but it is also a very easily accessible option. Both of these factors play upon each other to make cloud backup one of the best solutions for backup that is on the market today.


The cost of cloud backup is based upon the amount of space you want to take up on a cloud server. Most cloud backup companies will have a pricing scheme laid out very clearly that will be based upon different levels of storage space. On the whole, this storage space is much more affordable than the space you'd find at a comparable data backup site that didn't offer cloud services.

This lower pricing is due mostly to the somewhat less extensive security measures that are in place with cloud backup companies. Since your information will be available through a myriad of devices due to the very nature of cloud computing, the security is inherently more lax to accommodate that. This isn't to say that there is a lack of security in place, just not on the order of what is found at more "bomb proof" backup services that are meant to be accessed via a dedicated source.


Of course, the major benefit of cloud backup is that it is easily accessed by your various devices at a moment's notice. This makes it useful not only for regular data backup, but also for data accessibility across your various devices. When you store data to your cloud service, the data will also be accessible through your smartphone, your computer, your tablet, or any other device that you have connected to the cloud. If you want to have constant access to your information, this is another great benefit that backup in the cloud has over more traditional backup services on dedicated individual servers.

It is also possible for people other than you to access your data when it is backed up to the cloud. This is especially useful for business owners that have a lot of people working out in the field. Instead of your employees coming into the office to access contracts and invoicing directly from your home system, they can access all of this information quickly and efficiently through their laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

Putting It All Together

There are a lot of reasons to back up to the cloud. Cloud backup is quickly becoming the "go to" solution for business and personal data accessibility, and it makes the whole process of backing up information much simpler. While there are some unique security issues that people need to keep in mind whenever they pursue any type of cloud computing, the speed and ease of use is enough to meet the needs of nearly anyone. With the greater security measures being placed on cloud systems, these issues will only become less prevalent.

Author Box:

Leo Alvin Alexander is an online writer/blogger currently working for an IT consulting firm based in New York City that offers different managed IT services including cloud computing solutions like cloud backup and storage for businesses.