Microsoft Teams, set to reach global availability, to celebrate with online event

www.office.com/setup

www.office.com/setup Blogs: Microsoft Teams, the company’s new chat-based workspace in Office 365 has been available in public preview since November. Over the past few months, Microsoft introduced several new features such as bots in channels, markdown support and more, and the Redmond giant is now finally ready to make Teams generally available to Office 365 customers.

www.office.com/setup Blogs: Indeed, the company announced today that it will hold an online event on Tuesday, March 14 to celebrate the global availability of Microsoft Teams. “Microsoft Corporate Vice President Kirk Koenigsbauer and a special guest will share perspectives on teamwork, what’s new in Microsoft Teams, and talk about how customers are using Office 365 to collaborate and deliver great results,” said the announcement.

If you’re interested, the event will kick off at 8:30 AM PST and you can register on this page.  Microsoft is just getting started with Microsoft Teams, but we hope to learn more about use cases and upcoming features on this occasion.

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When does support end for… Microsoft Office 2007?

www.office.com/setup Blogs: There’s just three months before the already-extended suite goes dark — literally, in the case of Outlook 2007

www.office.com/setup Blogs: Businesses that remain wedded to Office 2007 have just over three months to drop Office 2007’s applications and switch to a newer suite, such as Office 2016.

A significant number of organizations will be affected by the deadline. According to patch management vendor Qualys, about 11% of enterprise PCs equipped with Microsoft Office include at least one component from Office 2007. The suite’s “share” was determined from more than 3 billion scans Qualys conducts annually on customers’ networks, said Jimmy Graham, Qualys’ director of product management, in an email.

Office 2007’s support expires Oct. 10. After that date, Microsoft will no longer supply patches for security vulnerabilities or fixes for other bugs, nor will it provide company-assisted technical support, whether free or paid, such as by-phone consultations or trouble-shooting.

Initially, Office 2007 support was set to end in April — at the same time Windows Vista was put to pasture — but in 2012 Microsoft extended the productivity suite’s support by six months. The reason for the extra time: a little-known provision in the company’s support policy that guarantees at least two years of “mainstream” support after the launch of a product’s successor (in this case, Office 2010).

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A list of all Office 2007 components that will be retired Oct. 10 can be found in this support document on Microsoft‘s website.

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The applications within Office 2007 will continue to operate after support ends — with some exceptions — but companies will be taking a risk that malware exploiting a subsequently-revealed flaw might hijack devices. To receive security and non-security updates after Oct. 10, IT administrators must deploy Office 2010 or later. Not surprisingly, Microsoft recommends the Office 365 rent-not-own subscription program, and the Office 2016 applications that come with most enterprise- and business-grade plans.

In some cases, Office 2007 apps won’t work properly at all after October. The most notable of these: Outlook 2007. “As of October 31, 2017, Outlook 2007 will be unable to connect to Office 365 mailboxes, which means Outlook 2007 clients using Office 365 will not be able to receive and send mail,” Microsoft said.

Microsoft has created a sub-site specifically for Office 2007’s end of days that includes information on upgrade paths, links to detailed migration instructions, and more.

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There are three possible Microsoft-made replacements for Office 2007, but only Office 2016 has more than 5 quarters of Mainstream support remaining.

What happens when an Office 365 subscription expires?

www.office.com/setup Blogs: Three-stage process eventually ends up with all cloud data deleted

www.office.com/setup Blogs: Microsoft‘s pay-as-you-go Office 365 is, first and foremost, a subscription. And like other subscriptions — think newspapers (remember them?) or an online storage service — missing a payment doesn’t immediately mean you’re cut off.

Because it’s less expensive to retain a current subscriber than find a new subscriber as a replacement, providers sometimes go to great lengths to keep customers on the rolls.

When a business misses an Office 365 payment, or cancels the service, the applications and data don’t immediately disappear. Instead, Microsoft steps a customer through a three-stage process that gradually decreases both employee and administrator access, but for months leaves the door open to a renewal.

Here are the stages of an Office 365 breakup.

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1-30 days after subscription ends: Expired

Microsoft dubs the first stage “expired,” but it could just as well be called “grace period,” since everything works as if the customer’s payments remain up to date.

Users have normal access to all Office 365 applications and services under the company’s plan. Already-installed applications can be launched, no data will be scrubbed from Microsoft‘s servers — such as email messages or files stored on OneDrive for Business — and additional applications can be added to a user’s devices.

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Note: macOS versions of Office provided via an Office 365 subscription do not include the 30-day grace period; they immediately enter the “Disabled” state. See below for details.

Administrators can access all functions from the Office 365 admin center portal, including assigning licenses to new or existing employees. If the firm plans to depart Office 365, data may be backed up.

The subscription can be renewed by the global or billing administrator during this 30-day span.

31-120 days after subscription ends: Disabled

During months two through four, the subscription sits in the “disabled” state. Another label could be “admin only,” as administrators can continue to access the admin portal. The IT staff can most effectively use this period to back up employee data stored on Microsoft‘s servers. Admins cannot assign licenses to workers during the 90 days.

Users are unable to log into their Office 365 accounts and so are blocked from Office 365 services included in the plan, ranging from hosted email to OneDrive for Business. The locally-installed applications will drop into what Microsoft‘s calls “reduced functionality,” meaning that most features and tools are unavailable. Files may be opened, viewed and printed, but not edited or saved. The applications may not launch from the desktop, but they will open after clicking on an appropriate document.

A subscription can still be renewed by the global or billing administrator during this stretch.

121 days and up: Deprovisioned

At the Day 121 mark, the Office 365 subscription is not only dead, it’s really, really dead.

No one, administrators included, can access service or applications, so backing up employee data is impossible.

In fact, Microsoft will begin to delete the subscription’s data from its servers starting on this date. The company does not provide a done-by deadline, saying, “You can expect data to be permanently deleted in a reasonable timeframe after the 120 days have elapsed.” Enterprises that want data erased as soon as possible may request “expedited deprovisioning” by calling support. Microsoft will then delete the pertinent data within three days.

Global or billing admins may not restore a subscription — and thus access to the cloud-based data and the Office applications — during this period. Assuming the firm wants to continue using Office, it must purchase new Office 365 subscriptions or standalone, perpetual licenses.

Microsoft Word has a terrifying new VIRUS – and there’s only one way to avoid it

www.office.com/setup Blogs: MICROSOFT WORD and Microsoft Office users have been warned about a new zero-day security flaw that enables hackers to remotely install malware on your PC, security McAfee has warned.
Microsoft Office is vulnerable to a dangerous new malware attack, renown anti-virus company McAfee has cautioned.

The security flaw enables cyber-criminals to covertly install malware on your PC.

The terrifying attack is possible thanks to a flaw in Microsoft’s Object, Linking and Embedding (OLE) technology, McAfee warned in a blog post.

The security company wrote: “The exploit works on all Microsoft Office versions, including the latest Office 2016 running on Windows 10.

“The earliest attack we have seen dates to late January.”

Hackers are using Microsoft Word documents (or more specifically, RTF files listed with a “.doc” extension) to trick people into opening the files.

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No sooner than the file is opened, the PC will download a file that contains HTML application content which will enables the criminals full administrator rights on the victim’s machine.

This is how criminals are able to remotely execute malware on your device.

McAfee says it has been in contact with Microsoft about the security flaw in its Microsoft Office applications.

The Redmond-based technology company is expected to push-out an update to its apps that closes the flaw this week for its habitual Patch Tuesday bug release.

PC owners should always make sure their software is being supported by the manufacturer, and is up-to-date.

But in the meantime, what should Microsoft Office users do to avoid the virus?

The .hta content is disguised as a normal RTF file to evade security productsMCAFEE
The .hta content is disguised as a normal RTF file to evade security products
Well, anti-virus firm McAfee has a few suggestions to keep safe.

“Do not open any Office files obtained from untrusted locations,” the company warns.

“According to our tests, this active attack cannot bypass the Office Protected View, so we suggest everyone ensure that Office Protected View is enabled.”

To enable Office Protected View in your application, launch Microsoft Word.

Then navigate to File > Options > Trust Centre, then click on Trust Centre Options.

Click on Protected View, then check all of the three tick boxes listed beneath this option.

Hit OK to finalise the changes – and you should be protected against the latest malware attack.

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The news comes days after Israeli researcher Amihai Neiderman blasted the TizenOS operating system that powers the Samsung smartwatches as “the worst code” he had seen.

Mr Neiderman has skewered Samsung’s TizenOS, which powers the Gear S3 Frontier and a slew of other smart devices – including televisions and smartphones.

The Israeli researcher spoke to Motherboard ahead of a speech at the annual Security Analyst Summit held by Kaspersky Lab, revealing “It may be the worst code I’ve ever seen.”

“Everything you can do wrong there, they do it,” he added “You can see that nobody with any understanding of security looked at this code or wrote it.

“It’s like taking an undergraduate and letting him program your software.”

Tizen OS has been skewered, with one researcher blasting it as ‘the worst code’ he’d ever seenGETTY
Tizen OS has been skewered, with one researcher blasting it as ‘the worst code’ he’d ever seen
One of these vulnerabilities would allow a hacker to remotely seize control of a Samsung device running TizenOS.

Mr Neiderman says he was able to hijack the TizenStore app – Samsung’s version of Google Play Store – which is used to deliver apps and software updates to Tizen devices, to install malicious code to his device.

“You can update a Tizen system with any malicious code you want,” he said.
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Microsoft wants to improve office productivity with this Office 365 app

www.office.com/setup Blogs: Workplace Analytics leverages ‘behavioural metrics’

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www.office.com/setup Blogs: Microsoft has announced that its Workplace Analytics feature is now available for Office 365 enterprise customers as an add-on, aiming to boost employee productivity – but possibly giving rise to some concerns about exactly how staff members can be monitored.

The basic idea of Workplace Analytics is that it takes metadata from Office 365 email and calendars and crunches that data, turning it into what Microsoft calls behavioural metrics.

In other words, the analytics solution takes data on who is sending emails where and when, and also for the likes of scheduled meetings via calendars, subsequently offering insights on how staff are spending their time, how many meetings they are attending and so forth – with a view to using this information to increase productivity levels.

Naturally, the first thought which may pop into the heads of staff members is that this is all rather ‘Big Brother’, but Microsoft notes there are built-in privacy and compliance measures here, and that the system leverages metadata which is aggregated and ‘de-identified’.

Fortune favours the analysed

That said, Workplace Analytics clearly does offer some level of insight into individual performance, as Microsoft cites examples showing this is the case. For instance, there is mention of the sales department in a Fortune 500 firm using the system to identify the ‘collaborative patterns’ of top performers, including the amount of time they spend with customers.

Those behaviours were then adopted by the rest of the sales folk, resulting in boosted figures for the company in question.

As TechCrunch, which spotted this development, notes, there is then the theoretical possibility of being able to pinpoint less productive staff members rather than the top guns of respective departments, but Microsoft reckons that not one company in the private beta went down this route.

Although that isn’t to say that this couldn’t happen in the future, of course…

Kathleen Hogan, chief people officer at Microsoftcommented: “Our HR Business Insights group is using Workplace Analytics across a variety of initiatives – from understanding the behaviours driving increased employee engagement, to identifying the qualities of top-performing managers who are leading Microsoft’s cultural transformation from within. We believe people analytics is a competitive necessity for any HR team.”