The new Office 365 subscriptions for consumers and small businesses

Office 365 Home Premium

A single subscription to Office 365 Home Premium covers the entire household.  While you use a laptop, your daughter can use the PC in the den, and your son can use a tablet.  You can each sign-in with your individual Microsoft accounts using your settings and accessing your documents, but you still need just one subscription to get:

  • All the Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, and Publisher.*
  • Ability to use Office on up to 5 PCs or Macs shared among all users in the home. Subscribers also have flexibility to change their 5 devices at any time, and full featured Office applications are available for temporary use on any PC.
  • Nearly 3 times the amount of SkyDrive storage with an additional 20GB over the 7GB you get for free.
  • 60 minutes of SkypeTM world calling per month to keep in touch with family anywhere.**
  • Premium licenses that are always up-to-date with latest new features and services released regularly. With the new Office, new capabilities will be added multiple times per year.

Office 365 Home Premium, a single subscription for up to 5 users, will be available in both physical and online stores across 227 markets worldwide for $8.33 per month ($99.99 billed annually).  A free 30 day trial will also be available online.




Office 365 Small Business Premium

In addition to Office 365 Small Business, the new Office 365 Small Business Premium is designed for organizations with 1-10 employees, and each user gets the following benefits:

  • All the Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, and Publisher plus Lync.*
  • Ability to use Office on up to 5 PCs or Macs for a single user. Users also have flexibility to change their 5 devices at any time, and full featured Office applications are available for temporary use on any PC.
  • 25 GB Outlook mailbox, shared calendar, contact manager, scheduling and task-list tools, and 10 GBprofessional-grade cloud storage for the organization plus 500 MB per user.
  • Ability to host online meetings with audio and video using one-click screen sharing and HD video conferencing (HD video camera required)
  • Set up, build, and maintain a public-facing website with no additional hosting fees.
  • Premium licenses that are always up-to-date with latest new features and services released regularly. With the new Office, new capabilities will be added multiple times per year.
  • No IT expertise needed. Simple setup to get started quickly and customize the service with ease.

Office 365 Small Business Premium will be available in both physical and online stores, including small business resellers, across 86 markets worldwide for $12.50 per user per month ($149.99 billed annually).  A free 30 day trial will also be available online.

Other offerings

People who need Office on only one device can buy traditional Office suites.  These offerings do allow you to save to SkyDrive by default and make it easy to connect to the cloud, but they are not available for multiple devices and do not include the latest updates or additional SkyDrive and Skype services. Prices start at $139.99 for Office Home and Student 2013 which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Office Home and Business 2013 includes all the applications in Home and Student plus Outlook.  Office Professional 2013 includes the applications in Home and Business plus Access and Publisher.   In addition, Office Home & Student 2013 RT comes on all Windows RT devices and includes fully featured editions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote optimized for ARM devices.

Building Office for Windows RT

The Birth of Office for Windows RT

Shortly before the January 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), we were asked if we could create a version of Office that would run on reference hardware with an ARM processor. This led to Steve Ballmer’s CES demo of Word and PowerPoint running on ARM. Office for Windows RT was born.



Why Create Office for Windows RT?

In doing research for Office for Windows RT, we spoke to people to understand how they use current, in-market tablets. We wanted to understand what was missing that would make for a more compelling experience. One answer was nearly unanimous – people wanted a complete Office experience; not just a viewer. However, they also wanted a version of Office that was optimized for the tablet form factor – most importantly supporting touch and providing long battery life.

Office Home & Student 2013 RT is Office running on the ARM-processor based Windows RT OS. It is full Office built from the same code base as the other versions of Office, with small changes that were required as a result of differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT. Our goal when starting the Office for Windows RT project was to deliver:

  • ARM as a “first class” platform, including the Same look and feel as x86/x64, same level of polish and reliability, full Office feature-set and fidelity and Service parity (e.g., save to SkyDrive, roaming settings, other Windows Live integration, experience, etc.)
  • Stunning battery life (both active and idle), great performance and responsiveness

While we knew we wanted to deliver the same great Office experience across Windows and Windows RT, we also knew that Windows RT gave us an opportunity to optimize the product for the type of devices that would run on this new platform.



Optimizing Office for the Windows RT Platform

The Office Home & Student 2013 RT applications – Word, Excel, OneNote, and PowerPoint run on the desktop on Windows RT. Our highest priority was making sure that customers can successfully do the things that are most important to them when using Office on these Windows RT devices.

When you use the Office applications on Windows RT, you’ll find yourself in a familiar environment that feels just like what you are used to using on other platforms. You may also notice some of the enhancements we made to optimize Office for the Windows RT environment – like automatically enabling touch mode (but if you don’t notice and find that everything just works as you’d expect, that’s okay too).

When you look at the specifications for Windows RT devices, you’ll find that most share some common characteristics:

  • Touch-enabled;
  • Portable with the ability to run on battery for long periods of time;
  • Memory capabilities start at about 2GB;
  • SSD drives of 16 to 32 GB capacity; and
  • Wireless connectivity with some having 3G

We’ve optimized Office for these capabilities. We’ve already described our touch investments in the post “Using the new Office with touch.” In addition to these broad investments in touch, Office applications are enabled for “touch mode” by default, so the touch experience is better out of the box.

Let’s take a look at some of the other improvements we’ve made while developing Office for Windows RT.

Maximizing Battery Life

Battery life is a difficult problem that requires good citizenship from all parts of the system to get the best possible results. A single poorly-performing component, whether hardware, driver, or software can significantly reduce the delivered battery life. In Office Home & Student 2013 RT, we carefully evaluated the impact Office has on the system and then made deep investments to ensure that we met the overall citizenship goals for the platform. For example, ideally Office would have no perceptible user impact at idle. In reality, Office apps need to maintain such things as data freshness which necessarily uses some power. Where we couldn’t remove a feature’s impact on battery, we invested in reducing the extent of that impact. Here are some of the common challenges we addressed.

Software Needs to Let the CPU Sleep

The most actionable thing that drives battery utilization is how often we wake up the CPU to do work, especially when the user is not actively typing, scrolling, etc. CPU power state transitions are expensive. To reduce these transitions, we want to avoid breaking up work across multiple CPU wake ups. Instead, whenever possible, we try to do all the required work at once. We focused on two things to reduce net wake ups: 1) coalesce timers and 2) remove the need for some timers entirely.

The primary mechanism that software uses to ask the system to wake it up is timers. Prior to Windows 8, Windows was not “tickless” meaning you were guaranteed to wake up every ~16 milliseconds. Timers were also often set to wake the process after a specific amount of time or repetitively on a given interval. Windows 8 added new coalescable timers which allow programs to be more battery-life friendly by specifying a range of time to wake up rather than an absolute interval. This allows the system to cluster wake ups with the end result being more CPU sleep time. This extends battery life dramatically.

In Office 2010, there were some situations where applications would wake up the CPU more than 1000 times per minute during idle. With the new Office, we have reduced that by 95% when the user isn’t interacting with the program. Most of the changes are in how Office interacts with the system at a deep level, so you shouldn’t notice any difference. However, there are a few changes that an observant user might notice. One example is the blinking cursor. There is no hardware or operating system support for a blinking cursor so software implements this feature using timers. To minimize the power impact, Office on Windows RT stops blinking the cursor after a few seconds if the user stops interacting with the application. When the user is away, we just show a fixed, non-blinking cursor. This requires no timer and is the best power citizenship option. This is just one example you might notice, and there are several others you won’t notice at all until your battery lasts longer than expected.

Take Advantage of the Hardware

Windows RT is designed to run on ARM System on a Chip (SoC) processors. Unlike a traditional PC where the CPU, graphics card, network adapter, and other systems components are generally all separate pieces, SOC processors combine these components onto a single integrated chip. This improves performance and reduces power consumption. It also guarantees that we can rely on the hardware for expensive operations like playing back videos.

Windows 8 detects this support and takes advantage of it. This is a real benefit to software vendors. For example, in the past, we would write code to detect the level of graphics support delivered by the video card and would write software-based “fallback” code to use when the graphics card in the system did not provide the required capabilities. When using the fallback software-based algorithms, execution cannot be optimized to the extent that can be done when implementing the same algorithm as a dedicated feature of the processor. This impacts both performance and battery life – often dramatically. We’ve taken advantage of these hardware offloads in situations like showing video in PowerPoint. By doing so, we improve the overall battery life of the system.

While the impetus for doing all the work I just described was the desire to deliver great battery life for Office for Windows RT, the fact that it is the same code base as the other Office products means that all users benefit from these changes regardless of what edition of Office they are using.

Using Less Resources When They are Scarce

While running, most programs load or create a great deal of temporary information that is necessary for the program to display information on the screen or to perform other operations. To improve the program’s performance and responsiveness, this information is saved in memory, called caching, so that it can be reused without the overhead of reloading or recalculating. When multiple programs are running the amount of memory available can become limited requiring the operating system to swap out some or all of the program to make that memory available to other programs. This “memory paging” is expensive and can reduce the responsiveness of the system.

Office detects when the user is not actively using the system. When this occurs, Office releases these temporary caches. By having Office determine what memory can most optimally be released rather than relying on operating system memory paging, both Office and the rest of the programs on the system benefit by more effectively utilizing limited memory.

Make Room for the User’s Information

Windows RT systems generally have Solid State Disk (SSD) drives. These drives are fast and battery efficient. However, while the cost per gigabyte continues to decline, these drives are still more expensive that traditional rotational drives. As a result, these drives tend to have smaller capacities. When programs are loaded on today’s large rotational drives that can be over a terabyte in size, most users don’t notice the space used by the program. However, when loaded on a 16GB SSD the operating system and programs can fill a significant portion of the total drive.

While developing Office for Windows RT, we carefully evaluated each feature’s impact on the overall footprint of Office on the drive. For example, rather than including large number of templates and clipart on the drive, we opted to put frequently used templates on the drive while making the more extensive collection available via the start center in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and also online .

One area that was identified for space savings was language packs. Many OEMs load multiple languages onto the systems they ship. If a user only uses one or two languages, the language resources such as spellers, grammar checkers, and UI strings for the other languages historically have continued to take space on the drive. Office is designed to clean up unused languages packs that are not configured for use by the user. If a user decides later that they want one of the languages that were removed the system will automatically download the required files from Windows Update.

Helping Users Avoid Bill Shock

One of the features we expect to see in many Windows RT systems is cellular network support. A characteristic of these networks is that their use is often metered. That is, users pay for the data they utilize – either some amount of money per megabyte of usage or with a monthly cap and then additional fees if they exceed that cap. As a good citizen on these devices we felt we needed to help users know when they are using a metered cellular network and give them the choice whether or not they want to pay for the usage or not take a particular action. Internally we referred to this as helping users avoid bill shock.

Windows RT provides APIs that allow applications including Office to understand the user’s current network state. We can identify if the cellular network is unrestricted or if usage is metered (the user is paying for their usage), if the user is approaching or over their limit, and whether or not they are roaming. When we detect that the cellular network is metered we throttle network traffic to reduce our impact. When users are roaming or over their cap we inform them and give them the options to turn off network traffic. Ultimately, the user knows best what they are trying to do and whether or not they are willing to pay to do it, so we try to give the user more feedback and control.

Benefits for All

While the work I’ve just described was done to optimize Office for Windows RT, most users will benefit no matter what edition of Office they choose to use. Office automatically determines whether or not the necessary operating system and device support is present to enable these enhancements. The majority of the changes are enabled when Office is running on any edition of Windows 8. Only features such as support for touch or cellular networks require additional hardware support.

Differences between Office for Windows and Office for Windows RT

image image
Word 2013 Word 2013 RT

Screen shots of the two applications look very similar because the products are very similar by design. Differences between the versions are subtle. Office Home & Student 2013 RT includes the vast majority of Office Home & Student 2013 features available on PCs, and the features customers use most. Windows RT tablets have special requirements for security, reliability, and battery life, and we’ve worked to ensure that the RT version is well-suited for the platform. Beyond the differences listed below, Office for Windows RT is fully-featured Office with complete document compatibility.

  • Macros, add-ins, and features that rely on ActiveX controls or 3rd party code such as the PowerPoint Slide Library ActiveX control and Flash Video Playback
  • Certain legacy features such as playing older media formats in PowerPoint (upgrade to modern formats and they will play) and editing equations written in Equation Editor 3.0, which was used in older versions of Office (viewing works fine)
  • Certain email sending features, since Windows RT does not support Outlook or other desktop mail applications (opening a mail app, such as the mail app that comes with Windows RT devices, and inserting your Office content works fine)
  • Creating a Data Model in Excel 2013 RT (PivotTables, QueryTables, Pivot Charts work fine)
  • Recording narrations in PowerPoint 2013 RT
  • Searching embedded audio/video files, recording audio/video notes, and importing from an attached scanner with OneNote 2013 RT (inserting audio/video notes or scanned images from another program works fine)

Babel optimizes open communication on Office 365

Babel Editorial, a small editorial company dedicated to the production of books and multimedia content, located in Lisbon, Portugal, recently streamlined their operations and reduced costs by getting on Microsoft Office 365.

The publisher’s business expansion from Portugal to Brazil surfaced the need to implement a flexible, simple, and economical IT solution that would reduce management and maintenance demands. As part of this globalization strategy, Babel also wanted to increase profits and security, while keeping productivity high.

To meet these requirements, Babel uses the full suite of Office 365: SharePoint Online to support their intranet, Microsoft Exchange Online for email, and Lync Online for videoconferencing. With Lync Online Babel is reducing the amount of time employees spend traveling while still keeping the line of communication open with customers and partners in Portugal and Brazil.

Agricultural trade group supports hundreds of members with cloud solution


The California Strawberry Commission (CSC) needs to deliver IT services to employees and several hundred member growers, shippers, and processors-despite an IT department made up of only one technical employee. To address this challenge, the CSC deployed Microsoft Office 365, offering highly scalable, enterprise-class IT capabilities for a minimal investment. IT staff are now more productive and can focus on projects that provide strategic value.

Business Needs

The California Strawberry Commission (CSC) is a resource for the California strawberry industry. The CSC works with growers, shippers, and processors of California strawberries, and other agencies to promote a stronger market by providing tools, support, and information for food safety training, marketing, and production research.


The CSC is meeting these goals by using Office 365, which unites familiar Microsoft Office applications with the power of Microsoft Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online into one connected, online solution. The commission’s Office 365 subscription also includes Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010. “Office 365 addresses not only our immediate need to create a standardized environment that encourages collaboration but also our goals to create a unified communications system that encompasses email, instant messaging and conferencing, and document sharing and workflows,” Massat says.


By adopting Microsoft Office 365, the CSC gains the following benefits:

  • Improved productivity. By using Office 365, the CSC greatly reduces its IT maintenance time and cost, compared with on-premises solutions.
  • Greater risk management. Office 365 helps minimize risk for the CSC in several ways. First, hardware and software are maintained in Microsoft data centers with guaranteed service level agreements.
  • Advanced IT services. The CSC describes itself as a small organization with an enterprise mission, and gives Office 365 credit for helping to accomplish that mission and for giving Massat the time he needs to focus on a strategic IT vision.

Like building a house, in project management it’s very important to use the right tool at the right time. Many teams start with lightweight spreadsheets for organizing and tracking tasks. When they want to add collaboration and let team members manage their own reporting, task lists in SharePoint are a great way to organize the team’s work in accessible and inclusive ways. At some point, lists of tasks become too complex for simple spreadsheets. They have dependencies, shared resources, unique constraints, or maybe the list just becomes too long and unwieldy.

That’s when the humble task list can “graduate” into becoming a project, and Project Professional is the perfect tool for the job. Almost inevitably, businesses will accumulate a number of projects, and at some point require another sophisticated tool to manage all these projects in one place. Project Server provides this ability to look across many projects and keep the business running smoothly; and now, Project Online does this as a cloud service.

Like Project Server, Project Online integrates seamlessly with Project Professional, Microsoft’s signature project management software embraced by project managers everywhere. When an organization’s many individual projects are managed in Project Online, everything the Project Management Office (PMO) and business leaders need to manage project portfolios and make key decisions is available in one place, accessible from virtually anywhere on nearly any device.

Trends in hardware virtualization delivered substantial cost reductions for companies across many industries in recent years. As virtualization technology becomes mature and standardized, the leading edge of cost control is moving to cloud services, in which workloads that are not mission critical can be accessed with more flexibility, lower costs, and without investments in unnecessary infrastructure. Many enterprises understand that sustained competitive advantage results from strategically directed operations more so than administration of server farms.

Project Online addresses these realities and unlocks opportunity for teams to boost autonomy and scale. Since it’s a service delivered through Office 365, Project Online is always up to date, accessible from virtually anywhere, and can be trusted with sensitive data and mission-critical workloads.

Office 365 leverages best practices and adds unique innovations to give users the power to mix and match the right set of tools to meet business needs. Project Online brings SharePoint Online capabilities with it, and the experience only gets better when licenses are added for Lync Online communication, Exchange Online email services, and streaming Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to personal computers virtually anywhere. Visio Pro for Office 365 is also available as a subscription, enabling integration of business process modelling, zero-code workflow design for demand management, data-connected dashboards, and traditional diagramming.

New guides to help you make the switch to Office 365

If you or your company are switching to Microsoft Office 365, new go-to guides are here to help. As of today, you’ll find eight Switch to Office 365 guides with step-by-step pages to make a fast and smooth transition from Google G Suite to Office 365.

“Companies like the guides because they highlight the key differences between G Suite and Office 365 and show users how to get up and running with a minimum of disruption,” says Peter Krebs, commercial training and adoption manager.

The guides, and there are more on the way, also highlight the way you can work together more effectively. Krebs says, “One of the common comments we hear from users is, ‘I didn’t know Office could do that.”’

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How to Set Up Microsoft Excel | Microsoft Excel Set Up Guide

Microsoft Excel: Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program introduced by Microsoft for Windows and Mac OS. Later, Microsoft Excel is launched for Android and iOS. It helps us to do calculations, use graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for applications.

Basic Functionalities of Microsoft Excel:

Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel uses a grid of rows and columns called cells to organize data manipulations like arithmetic operations. Rows are denoted by numbers whereas columns are denoted by alphabets. Excel has a bank of functions to analyze statistical, engineering, and financial data and answer it. Microsoft Excel can also show data as line graphs, histograms, and charts and also in three-dimensional graphical form but with a little application of three dimensions. Excel  also helps in sectioning of data to view its dependencies on various factors for different uses such as using pivot tables and the scenario manager.

Microsoft Excel

Excel have programming features; Visual Basic for applications, allowing the user to employ a wide variety of numerical methods; such as solving mathematical physics and then showing the answers or results back to the spreadsheet. Excel has also a variety of amazing features allowing user interfaces that can completely hide the spreadsheet from the user, so the spreadsheet presents itself as a so – called application, or Decision Support System (DSS), via a custom – designed user interface.

Microsoft allows for a number of optional commands – line switches to control the manner in which excel starts.

Microsoft Excel supports charts, graphs, or histograms created from a certain group of cells. The created graphic component can either be grounded within the current sheet or added as a separate object. These charts, graphs, and histograms can change as the content of cell changes.

Other windows applications such as Microsoft Access and Microsoft Word can match up with Excel and its capabilities and Vice – Versa. The most common are Dynamic Data Exchange (used to send or receive data between applications), OLE Object linking and embedding (allows a window application to control another window application to enable it to format or calculate data).

Data Storage and Communication :

Number of Rows and Columns –

Excel 7.0 had a limitation in the size of their data sets of 2^14 = 16384 rows. Version 8.0 – 11.0 of Excel could handle 2^16 = 65536 rows and 256 columns.

File Formats –

Microsoft Excel uses a proprietary binary file format called Excel Binary File Format (.XLS) as its primary format.

.XLS is an XML-based format. XML format is first brought up in Excel 2002. Excel uses another file format as .XLSX

Excel Workbook (.xlsx), Excel Macro – enabled workbook (.xlsm), Excel Binary Workbook (.xlsb), Excel Macro – enabled Template (.xltm), Excel Add – in (.xlam).

Old file extensions of Excel are .xls (spreadsheet), .xla (Add-in VBA), .xlc (Chart), .xld (Dialog), .xlk (Archive), .xll (Add-in DLL), .xlm (Macro), .xlt (Template), .xlv (Module), .DLL (Library), .xlw (Workspace).

Microsoft Excel

Using External Data –

Users can access external data sources via Microsoft Office features such as .odc connections built with the Office Data Connection file format. Excel adopts data in real time through various programming interfaces, which allow it to communicate with many other data sources.

Password Protection –

Microsoft Excel provides various types of passwords such as a password to open a document, password to modify a document, password to unlock worksheet, password to protect workbook, password to protect the sharing workbook.

Although all passwords except password to open a document can be removed instantly regardless of Microsoft Excel version used to create the document. The passwords which can be removed are used primarily for shared work on a document. Such password protected documents are not encrypted and a data sources from a set password is saved in a document’s header.

Microsoft Excel

Features of Microsoft Excel:

  • Count and Sum – The frequently used function of Excel is Count and Sum. We can Count and Sum based on one criterion or multiple criteria.
  • Logical – IF, AND and OR functions for logics.
  • Cell references.
  • Date and time – to enter a date in excel we use “/” or “-“ characters. To entering time we use “:”. We can also enter date and time in one cell.
  • Text – Excel has many functions to offer when it comes to manipulating text stringsLookup and Reference.
  • Lookup and Reference.
  • Formula Errors – It teaches us how to deal with some common formula errors in Excel.
  • Array Formulas – This helps us understand array formulas in Excel. Single cell array formulas perform multiple calculations in one cell.

How to set Up Microsoft Excel:

Microsoft Excel is an application of Microsoft Office. So, for using Microsoft Excel we need to setup Microsoft Office in our PC.

How to install Excel in PC –

  • Sign in with My Office account at
  • Click on install button to begin the process. We can install both 32- bit as well as 64 – bit version according to our requirement. We can select different language also while installing as per our convenience by clicking on language and install options.
  • After this Office performs a series of pre – checks and after that, it starts its installation process.
  • Depending on the browser we use click Run (in Internet Explorer), Setup in Google Chrome and Save File in Mozilla Firefox. After that, the installation begins automatically.
  • When the installation is finished we can see the instruction saying “You’re all set! The office is install now” and an animation plays to guide us where to find Office applications on our PC. We have to just follow the animation guide and it’s all done.
  • Now if we start Excel a dialog box appears where we have to agree or accept its License terms agreement.
  • The office might get automatically activate. It do not get automatically activat then Microsoft office Activation Wizard opens and then we have to select one of the options for activation and then continue.

How to install Excel on Mac:

  • Open and then sign in to your Microsoft account.
  • On the My Account section, select install button.
  • After this in install information page select install to begin downloading the installation package.
  • Once the download had completed, go to downloads and open Microsoft Office 2016 Installer.pkg and then continue to begin the installation process.
  • Now we have to agree to its License agreement terms; review the disk space requirements and then click on install button. If password asked to enter your Mac password and then click on install software option.
  • Once the installation is finished click on Close button.
  • After that, we have to begin the activation process. For this click on Launchpad icon; select Microsoft Excel; after that, a window appears saying What’s New and then we have to click on Get Start to start activating.

Formulas and Functions in Excel:

A formula is an expression which calculates the value of a cell. Functions are predefine formulas and are already available in Excel.

Enter a formula –

To enter a formula,

  • Select a cell.
  • To let Excel know that you want to enter a formula, type an equal sign (=).
  • Type the formula.

Edit a formula –

  • To edit a formula, click in the formula bar and change the formula.
  • Press enter after editing the formula.

How to insert a function in Excel :

All functions in Excel have a similar structure. Steps to insert a function in Excel

  • Select the cell in which we want to insert.
  • Click on the insert function button (fx) then a window opens saying “insert function”.
  • From the “insert function,” dialog box search for a function or select a function from a category like statistical.
  • After that select ok button and then “function argument” dialog box appears.
  • On the range, box selects range A1:C2.
  • On the Criteria box type >5.
  • Click on the ok button.
  • The result is that excel counts a number of cells that are higher than 5.

Security of Microsoft Excel:

Since Microsoft Excel is mostly use application worldwide, it has been attack by hackers. Since Excel is not directly connect to the internet; if an attacker can get a chance to open a file in excel, then the attacker may get control over victims computer.

Get more information:

Musto Limited experiences smooth sailing with Office 365

Retailers are using Office 365 to improve employee communications and collaboration, enabling them to move faster to share best practices, roll out promotions and launch new products. Most recently, we welcomed UK Sportswear retailer Musto Limited to improve the ability of its large mobile workforce to work with manufacturers all around the world.

Office 365 logoMusto thrives on the trust it has built with their customers – reliability is crucial, so having an email system that allows their global workforce to quickly communicate across channels was essential. To help employees improve their response time and productivity, telecom operator Vodafone helped migrate the company to Office 365, providing them with the stability and reliability they were looking to implement.

In addition to reliable email, Office 365 made it possible to easily implement additional applications with calendaring, collaboration, and web conferencing solutions. Moreover it offers world-class security, IT-level phone support, geo-redundancy, disaster recovery, and business-class privacy controls and standards.

The Garage Series for Office 365: Stop that smoking gun! The latest in eDiscovery and data loss prevention

Episode 3 out of a 6 part special filmed in New Orleans, our intrepid host Jeremy Chapman is joined by Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange experts Mark Kashman and Bharat Suneja to share an overview the very latest in integrated Enterprise Search, eDiscovery and Data Loss Prevention to harden your data protection. See how these technologies work across both Office 365 Cloud implementations and your on-premises Office stack to help save users and organizations proactively and reactively from themselves while helping to reduce the complexity of discovery and high costs of legal review due to compliance audits.

Jeremy: So our last show got quite a reaction by way of offering an exclusive first look deep dive on the upcoming real-time co-authoring capabilities with Office Web Apps which we demonstrated in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. This was the first time that we had showed the pre-release code capabilities. You can continue to catch that show here or by visiting the Garage Series show channel.

For our latest New Orleans show special, I’m joined by SharePoint and Exchange experts Mark Kashman and Bharat Suneja to take a look at another important topic, the very latest in data protection with eDiscovery and Data Loss Prevention across Cloud and Hybrid environments.

Mark: That’s right, data lives everywhere and the foundation to any data hardening and compliance strategy is to be able to locate key sources of data wherever they may be and you’ll see that not only are we making it so you can quickly discover content through key word searches across the Office stack with integrated enterprise search (formally FAST), but we’ve also greatly enhanced your ability to preserve content versions with eDiscovery and the new eDiscovery Center in SharePoint which allows you to perform in-place holds on SharePoint content, email in Exchange, saved Lync conversations etc.. This means users cannot manipulate or change data from an earlier point in time, and while we can put a document version on hold, we can do this without impacting the ability for the user to continue to be productive.

SharePoint eDiscovery Center showing unified search, filters, statistics, on-hover previews, and tabs for the various sources and content type – from an example “Northwind Traders” case.

Jeremy: This is pretty game changing – I know that for a typical audit it could previously take months to discover the data sources and then you were at risk of the data source being obscured or changed.

Mark: Yes we can now get a real-time response but the other thing that is significant is when you go to export documents and assets we aim to help reduce the footprint. If you consider that the cost of legal review is sometimes $10,000 per GB, these advances mean you can now minimize the volume of what gets reviewed without having to first export everything, saving a ton of time and money in lawyer’s fees wherever there is a suspected issue.

Once you discover data in an audit and use an in-place hold, the original file is preserved in that state in the preservation hold library. Even a SharePoint Site Administrator cannot modify the file and edits made in the Preservation Hold Library will result in another instance of the file. That is why you see two links to what appears to be the same file in the demo on the show. Then once you narrow in on the required content, you export it in a standards based EDRM XML format once from across the entire Office stack – not multiple time from various silos.

Jeremy: So we had a bit of fun showing how this all works with SharePoint online and the eDiscovery center on the show. It was great to see what you can do reactively from a data compliance/protection perspective, so then we looked at what you can also put in place more proactively from a data protection perspective with the new Data Loss Prevention capability in Exchange.

As we were in New Orleans we did this New Orleans style and tested whether or not Exchange Online could stop a smoking gun email leaving the organization as our test study Mr. #dealwithit tried to send out his boss’s credit card details.

Before you get too trigger-happy in the comments section with other ways to communicate the credit card number, we all know he could have used a plethora of other means to succeed in his task – but this is an example of how Data Loss Prevention rules can be set up to work to prevent the worse from happening within the corporate domain. It not only helped train our user, but it also blocked the offensive message at the backend using the new transport rules enabled via Data Loss Prevention.

Bharat: Yes that guy definitely needed to be saved from himself, and in this particular case, he was behaving a little drunk and malicious and not using his best judgment.  Most users on the other hand, don’t try and send stuff out maliciously. That’s why we have Outlook Policy tips to focus users on going the right thing. But we can also set up custom policies which we demonstrate on the show.

This is pretty powerful as you saw it means that even where Outlook tips are overlooked by the user we can forcibly stop data leaving the organization by email via the Exchange back-end, by setting up custom rules, which are like transport rules but a lot more sophisticated and allows for deep content inspection. Exchange now in fact ships with thousands of templates to assist with this.

When you create DLP policies, you can include rules that include checks for sensitive information. The conditions that you establish within a policy, such as how many times something has to be found before an action is taken. Sensitive information rules are integrated with the transport rules framework by introduction of a condition that you can customize. Exchange also supplies policy templates that already include some of the sensitive information types. A list of what is supplied in-box is provided here.

Jeremy: So eDiscovery and Data Loss Prevention are two major advancements with the new Office, to help with data hardening and compliance. But there’s also a lot more to it such as Windows Azure Active Directory Rights Management Services for file-level security, and Exchange Active Sync for device management and security, both of which we’ll cover more on future shows. So what are next steps that our viewer/readers can take?

Mark: If you want to go deeper into eDiscovery, dive into this “What’s new in eDiscovery” article, and then I would suggest beginning to Plan for eDiscovery to understand how it can best serve the needs and compliance requirements of your organization.

Bharat: TechNet’s library for Data Loss Prevention is a great place to start – the important point though is that with templates and such we are making it a whole lot easier to implement policy and so this should be mostly a no-brainer for both seasoned and new Exchange administrators out there.

Jeremy: Great, thanks Mark and Bharat, I look forward to having you back on the show as we cover more topics on SharePoint and Exchange in future. Data Loss Prevention and eDiscovery along with Windows Azure Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS) provide excellent proactive and reactive security for data. We’ll dig a bit deeper into Windows Azure AD RMS in a future show. Our next show will take a look at the new Fasttrack tools and process for speeding up time to value for Office 365 inside of your organization. If you think that it is slower or more complex to get the new Office tenant deployed inside of your organization – think again!

Office 365 now available in 38 new markets

Office 365 is expanding commercial availability in 38 new markets, 3 new languages, and 5 new currencies.  Office 365 is now available in 127 markets worldwide and it is easier for customers to pay with their method of choice.  For both the Philippines and Thailand all Office 365 plans are now available for customers to subscribe to.  The other new markets can now start a 120-day trial before paid subscriptions are made available.

The new languages include Vietnamese, Arabic, and Malay. This raises the number of Office 365 languages to 36, including English.

New markets include:  Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Lebanon, Jamaica, Bolivia, Brunei, Nicaragua, Honduras, Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Georgia, Ghana, Mauritius, Macao SAR, Iraq, Bermuda, Rwanda, Belize, Cameroon, Nepal, Moldova, Mongolia, Zimbabwe, Barbados, Cape Verde, Fiji, Kyrgyzstan, U.S. Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Angola, Libya,[1]Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Yemen.[2]

New currencies accepted for payment include:  Brazilian Real (BRL), Mexican Peso (MXN), Malaysian Ringgit (MYR), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) and Indian Rupee (INR).