Improved communications and tools help you stay better informed during service incidents

As an Office 365 admin, you play an important role in delivering the best possible productivity for your users and organization. We share in this mission and remain committed to providing you a reliable service and transparency into our operations. Office 365 is designed with service continuity at the very center and we stand by this commitment through our financially backed guarantee of at least 99.9 percent uptime.

Reducing the frequency and impact of service incidents remains an important part of our continuous improvements. We do not take lightly the imperative we have to earn your trust through reliability. This is why we invest in resiliency and redundancy at every layer of Office 365 and design with the core principle of ensuring a highly available service.

As with any cloud service—and despite all our efforts—incidents can and do occur that may impact your experience. We realize that in these critical moments, it’s how we respond that makes all the difference for you and your organization.

We’ve heard your feedback that receiving actionable communications that are timely, targeted and accurate during service incidents is essential. Based on this feedback, we made a number of improvements and today we’d like to share this progress and announce the availability of two new capabilities: push notifications and programmatic access to Office 365 service incident communications.

 Receive service incident alerts the way you want

Your first and best resource for staying informed in the event of an Office 365 service incident is the Service Health Dashboard. Signing into the Office 365 admin center provides you a personalized, detailed and up-to-date view into the availability of the Office 365 services you have subscribed.

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If there is an incident that impacts your service experience, the Service Health Dashboard is our primary communication channel to keep you current with what is happening and the steps we are taking to rapidly recover. After an incident, this is where you can review root cause details and access a 30-day history of past events.

We’ve heard your feedback that the information we provide needs to be actionable. What follows is an update on how we’ve made improvements to better support you with the transparency and detail to understand the incident and how to best mitigate the impact for your users.

First, we constantly strive to reduce the amount of time it takes to identify and then notify you about an incident affecting your Office 365 tenant. Through investments in new processes, which include advanced machine learning, anomaly detection and automation, we have already reduced the time to your first alert by 60 percent in many cases. We remain committed to reducing this even further.

You also told us that more frequent status updates and faster post-incident analysis is vital for you to keep your organization informed. To support you better through these events, we added new details—such as the expected user experience, potential workarounds, estimated time to restoration and initial root cause analysis—to the regular updates posted to your Service Health Dashboard for a particular incident. This provides you greater context around the scope of the issue and helps you mitigate the impact on your users while we rapidly restore your service.

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We have an improved experience for your users through the introduction of new intelligent error messages. Today, Office 365 can inform your users if their access to SharePoint Online may be interrupted due to an ongoing service incident. The goal is to reduce the need for your users to call your help desk. Other Office 365 workloads will be supported in the coming months.

Similarly, Office 365 can alert you if there is an active service incident affecting your tenant at the time you are initiating a new service request.

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We’re also focused on providing you proactive notification if Office 365 detects an issue that could cause a future service incident. For example, alerting you that some of your users are connecting to Office 365 with an older version of Outlook that may result in reliability issues.

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Stay informed with new push notification options 

Today, we’re excited to announce the availability of new service incident push notifications with the Office 365 Admin app for Windows Phone, iOS and Android devices for first release customers with the worldwide release to follow.

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Now, when you are on the go and away from the Office 365 admin center, you can be alerted immediately if there is a service incident affecting your users and you’re one tap away from access to important details on any actions you can take to mitigate impact. And, you can stay current on the latest service health status from the same app.

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If you already have the Office 365 Admin app, this capability is available today.  All you need to do is configure your notifications.

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Not already using the app? You can download it from the following stores:

  • For Windows Phone 8.1, download the app from the Windows Phone Store.
  • For iOS 7+, download the app from the Apple App Store.
  • For Android 4.0+, download the app from Google Play.

We will continue to enhance and expand your options in future updates to the Office 365 Admin app. This includes adding more modalities for alerts—like SMS and email—and more customizable notifications.

Integrate directly with your applications using the Office 365 Service Communications API

We are also excited to announce the availability of a public preview of the Office 365 Service Communications API. The Service Communications API offers you programmatic access to Office 365 service incident communications. With this API, you now have the ability to surface critical Office 365 service communications directly within your existing help desk tools and service management solutions and simplify how you monitor across service health across your environment. The API gives you the flexibility to monitor real-time Office 365 service health status, as well as access historical details.

Several leading providers of service monitoring and management solutions have already started to integrate this new API into their own offerings, including BetterCloud, ENow, Cogmotive and Exoprise. For an example of how the API is enhancing partner solutions, check out this video from our partner Exoprise.

To get started with the new Office 365 Service Communications API, visit MSDN where you can access sample code to start building your solutions.

New IT management controls added to OneDrive for Business

The OneDrive for Business team has been working to deliver the most commonly requested controls by IT admins. Today, we’ll highlight new management options you have to protect and control the flow of your information using OneDrive for Business.

In addition, this week’s Office Mechanics show walks through the new controls and how to implement them as IT admin:

Limiting file sync to domain joined PCs

OneDrive for Business enables users to synchronize their files for offline use across their PCs or Macs. One of the most common requests from IT admins is to have the ability to block sync on unmanaged PCs. Now you can enable file sync to work only on domain-joined PCs (and you can even specify which of your domains you want to allow to sync), thereby blocking file sync on personally owned or unmanaged PCs. Note that using this setting means that you will disable file sync on all Macs as they cannot be domain-joined and managed like PCs.

This new control uses PowerShell to limit file sync to a list of permitted domains and, if your organization uses multiple domains, you can select the individual domains from which you allow sync requests.

The PowerShell cmdlet and syntax you use is:

The “DomainGuids” value represents the domain you are allowing. You can find more details on TechNet, including how to determine your domain GUIDs. We also demonstrate this on the show.

Auditing all actions taken against OneDrive for Business files

New auditing controls rolling into the Office 365 compliance center allow you to audit all actions taken against files stored in OneDrive for Business. If you want to monitor activities like which PCs or Macs attempted to sync with OneDrive or who viewed and shared files, the auditing controls provide that visibility. You can learn more in this recent Office Blogs post, and we demonstrate some of the auditing capabilities on the show.

Managing mobile devices connecting to OneDrive for Business data

As more people move to OneDrive for Business to store and access their files, email-based mobile device management (MDM) policies may not suffice to protect data. Now using MDM in Office 365, you can ensure that devices connecting to your OneDrive for Business data are managed. After you’ve set up MDM policies, a device will need to enroll in MDM for Office 365 when it tries to connect to your data using OneDrive for Business or Office Mobile apps. This ensures that the device meets security requirements, enforces PIN log-in and other chosen configurations on the device. You can find out more about MDM for Office 365 and see it in action on the show.

Setting storage quotas in OneDrive for Business

Even though the prospect of having 1 TB of data in the cloud is attractive for many people, several organizations have requested the ability to set smaller quota limits. It could be to limit the amount of data stored, for information protection reasons, or simply to ensure that what people store in OneDrive for Business can sync (and fit) on their PC’s hard drive.

In this case, PowerShell is again used to determine the storage quota. Here’s an example:

We demonstrate this feature on the show, and you’ll find more information for the Set-SPOSite cmdlet on TechNet.

Preventing unintentional sharing to “Everyone” or “All Users” in OneDrive for Business

OneDrive for Business is designed to ensure that only those with viewing or editing permissions can view or edit a file. Many organizations want sharing with people to be a very specific and targeted action. For example, they want their users to determine the specific people they need to share a file with and explicitly invite them through the sharing dialog. We’ve also offered the “Shared with Everyone” folder, which means files placed in this folder automatically grant users permissions and are publically discoverable through Delve. We had a lot of feedback from customers that this folder was an all-too-simple way to avoid specifically nominating people who should get access to a file. Based on this feedback, for all new tenants and users, the “Shared with everyone” folder will no longer be created by default; however, IT admins have the ability to override this setting.

If this is something you’ve been waiting for to protect information, you’ll also be happy to know that there are controls to remove “Everyone,” “All Users” and “Everyone except external users” from the people picker in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online. Again, you would use PowerShell to disable these entries from the people picker with the following settings:

More information about the Set-SPOTenant cmdlet is on TechNet and we highlight this as well as the resulting user experience on the show.

More to come in OneDrive for Business

These new controls, all based on your feedback, provide more capabilities to protect corporate information in OneDrive for Business. In the coming months, we’ll deliver a whole range of new user experiences including our new sync client (featuring selective sync), new web client refresh and offline file support for mobile devices. We’ll also bring in new controls for IT admins to manage the scope or span of sharing outside the organization as well as other controls that provide additional ways to protect key business files. So keep checking back; be sure to try out the new management controls today and let us know what you think.

New SharePoint and OneDrive capabilities accelerate your digital transformation

Share with confidence

OneDrive lets you share files securely with anyone—inside or outside your organization. Its deep Office integration, which powers rich co-authoring, allows you to collaborate on these shared files with others in real time. And it lets you access all your Office 365 files, including your individual work files and files shared with you by individuals, teams and the organization—regardless of whether you’re on a PC, Mac, an iOS or Android device or a Windows phone.

See all your files in File Explorer with OneDrive Files On-Demand

Last week at Microsoft Build 2017, we announced OneDrive Files On-Demand, coming to preview on Windows 10 this summer. Files On-Demand enables you to work with all your files in Office 365—both work and personal, across OneDrive and SharePoint—right from File Explorer, without having to download them and use storage space on your device.

Work with all your files in Office 365 from File Explorer with Files On-Demand.

Share files directly from File Explorer on Windows and Finder on Mac

Today, we also announced that starting this summer you will be able to share Office 365 files directly from File Explorer on PC and Finder on Mac. The sharing experience has been simplified, so you can share a file or folder with specific people or send a link that enables anyone who needs access, inside or outside your organization. In addition, you can now control how long a link provides access, and you can easily view and modify the permissions you have granted. The new sharing experience is the same, whether you share on the web, in Explorer on Windows 10 and Windows 7, or in Finder on Mac.

Share files and folders with colleagues inside and outside your organization directly from File Explorer on Windows 10 and Windows 7.

Share files and folders with colleagues inside and outside your organization directly from Finder on Mac.

Innovations that we’ve released over the last year and announced today are sparking customers to choose OneDrive over other file storage and sharing solutions. Read “File sharing and cloud storage with OneDrive and Office 365” to learn more.

To learn more about these and other announcements for OneDrive, read “New sharing features for OneDrive and SharePoint” and watch OneDrive for Business updates: simplified sharing and files on demand.

Connect SharePoint team sites with other Office 365 content and services

Over the last year, we modernized SharePoint team sites and connected them with Office 365 Groups. Today, we announced additional enhancements—coming later this year—which will further unify collaboration experiences in Office 365, including:

  • The ability to connect existing SharePoint team sites to Office 365 Groups, so you can augment existing sites with shared conversations, calendar and Planner.
  • Support for adding SharePoint pages as tabs in Microsoft Teams so you can add a tab with a news article or your team site’s homepage, for example. This builds upon the existing ability to add tabs for SharePoint document libraries in Teams. More integration between Teams and SharePoint will be shared at Microsoft Ignite.

Add a SharePoint page to a Teams channel.

To learn more about these and other announcements for SharePoint team sites, read “Personalize team sites in Office 365 and amplify your work using Microsoft Teams and Office 365 Groups” and watch New personalized, focused experiences across your SharePoint team sites.

Transform business process

SharePoint enables you, your team and your organization to streamline tasks, automate workflows and integrate processes seamlessly into your work—on any device and from anywhere you work.

Create custom SharePoint forms and digital experiences with PowerApps

Starting this summer, you will be able to use Microsoft PowerApps to easily create custom forms and rich digital experiences that surface right in the context of a SharePoint list or library. Users can then create, view and interact with data using your custom form or experience, rather than default SharePoint forms.

Create custom forms inside SharePoint lists and libraries with no code using PowerApps.

This is a significant milestone for both SharePoint and PowerApps, as it empowers any user to drive transformation of team and organizational processes.

Simple approval flows built in to SharePoint libraries

We also continue to deepen integration of SharePoint and Microsoft Flow. New built-in approval flows let you send any document for approval with a custom message. The recipient can approve the request directly from a rich, actionable email message, so approval and feedback can be given without leaving your inbox.

Approval flows, built in to SharePoint, send a rich, actionable email message.

To learn more about these and related announcements we made today, read “Reinventing business processes in SharePoint” and watch Zero code business process apps in SharePoint with PowerApps and Microsoft Flow.

Inform and engage employees

An intranet lets you communicate to people—keeping them informed of news and information. And it enables you to communicate with people—to engage employees and foster open conversation. It is this engagement that is fundamental to driving digital transformation and culture change.

Reach a broad audience with SharePoint communication sites

As the next step toward ushering in the next generation of intranets, we announced SharePoint communication sites—coming this summer. A communication site is a beautiful, dynamic site that lets you reach a broad audience to keep the organization informed and engaged. Communication sites look great on the web, on a PC or Mac, on mobile browsers and in the SharePoint app.

Easily create beautiful intranet sites to reach a broad audience across your organization.

While your team site lets you share within your group as you’re working, a communication site lets your group share broadly and communicate its message across the organization. News published on a communication site surfaces on SharePoint home in Office 365 and on SharePoint mobile to all users who have access to the site.

Communication sites can be created in seconds. You can configure the default web parts on your site’s pages to tell your story. You can customize page layout with new multi-column sections and drag-and-drop authoring with a range of richly functional web parts, including an image gallery, interactive Bing maps, videos from a Microsoft Stream channel, and a new events web part. Add the Yammer web part to solicit feedback and foster conversation, right in the context of a communication site.

To learn more about communication sites, read “Reach your audience via SharePoint communication sites in Office 365” and watch An overview of SharePoint communication sites.

Harness collective knowledge

As the pace of work accelerates, it’s more important than ever to harness collective knowledge by making it easier to find information and expertise, right when it’s needed, and to encourage best practice sharing.

Find people, expertise and content faster with powerful, personalized search

Today, we announced a more personalized search that leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence from Microsoft Graph to surface more relevant and valuable results, faster. When you click in the Search box on SharePoint home in Office 365, recommendations appear instantly. You’ll see recent files, making it easy to get back to your work, as well as relevant content, sites and news.

When you’re searching for knowledge, it may be found in content such as files, sites and news. And it might also be found through your colleagues. Now, your search results will include people whose skills, interests and projects—part their Office 365 profile—are relevant to your query.

Search results activate people cards, so you can learn at a glance about a person and the content they work on. One more click activates an extended view with richly detailed information from the user’s profile. These enhancements to search will roll out over the next few months.

Find what you need faster with instant, personalized results that include files, sites, news and people.

We also demonstrated how building communities using Yammer with SharePoint encourages people to share content, knowledge and best practices across the organization, by adding a conversational layer to your intranet.

Build a community with shared content and conversation using a SharePoint communication site and Yammer.

To learn more about Yammer integration with SharePoint and related announcements made today, read “New in Yammer: Building a More Engaged and Connected Organizationand watch Updates to Yammer: Integrating conversations into your SharePoint experiences.

Secure your content and manage your service

Innovation in the cloud drives tremendous business value, and it delivers new capabilities to the IT professionals who work tirelessly to support, configure, administer and secure their organizations’ content and services.

Empower administrators with the new SharePoint admin center

Today, we announced the new SharePoint admin center, which will begin rolling out in the fourth quarter of 2017. From the homepage, you’ll notice just how much better it is, with interactive usage reports, Message Center posts and a Service Health dashboard tuned to the needs of SharePoint administrators.

The new SharePoint admin center surfaces usage, health and administrative messages.

You’ll easily find and work with the dozens of SharePoint settings we give you to configure sharing, access and the service. And we know you’ll love the dynamic new Site Management page, which lets you view, filter and edit the configuration of all of your SharePoint sites—including sites connected to Office 365 Groups.

Manage all of your sites in the new SharePoint admin center.

To learn more about these and other announcements regarding SharePoint security and manageability, read “Secure your information with SharePoint and OneDrive” and watch New admin controls for SharePoint and OneDrive for Business.

Extend SharePoint and OneDrive

Just as we innovate for business users and IT professionals, we innovate for developers and partners. Last week at Microsoft Build 2017, we unveiled new capabilities to extend SharePoint experiences and build custom applications with SharePoint and the Microsoft Graph. We enhanced the SharePoint Framework with new extensions, coming soon in preview, for sites and libraries. We announced web part connections and File Handlers version 2, in preview, supporting more deeply integrated experiences. Finally, Microsoft Graph features new production endpoints for site data, as well as extended APIs for lists, in preview.

To learn more about announcements for SharePoint developers, read “Your guide to SharePoint at Microsoft Built 2017” and watch Updates to the SharePoint Framework with SharePoint Framework extensions.

Continued commitment to on-premises and hybrid customers

Last year, we released SharePoint Server 2016 to general availability and announced a vision to bring cloud innovation to on-premises customers through Feature Packs. We released Feature Pack 1 in November, with a new, responsive user interface for OneDrive and cloud coexistence features, including hybrid taxonomy and hybrid auditing. And today, we announced that we will bring the first components of the SharePoint Framework to SharePoint Server 2016 with Feature Pack 2 later this year. This will enable developers to use an updated client-side development model to create web parts and solutions that can power new solutions on-premises, in hybrid experiences and in Office 365.

To learn more about innovations for on-premises and hybrid SharePoint customers, read “SharePoint Server 2016 and Beyond” and watch SharePoint Server 2016 updates and advances in Cloud coexistence.

Accelerate your digital transformation

Today, we unveiled the latest innovations for SharePoint, so you can share and manage content, knowledge and apps and build a more connected workplace. We announced new features for OneDrive and deep integration across Office 365, Azure and Windows. And there’s more to come. Join us at Microsoft Ignite, where we look forward to hearing your feedback—and celebrating your success—as we partner to accelerate your digital transformation.

Data Loss Prevention in OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online and Office 2016 is rolling out

DLP in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online

During the private preview of DLP for OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online, we listened and incorporated feedback. DLP will now be available in premier enterprise SKUs, making these critical Office 365 compliance/protection capabilities available for both end users and IT admins. This is another important milestone in our efforts to deliver information protection controls to IT, to protect sensitive information and prevent it from being inadvertently disclosed. At the same time, we’ve built in policy tips and end-user education to help employees make the right choices when working with sensitive data.

IT admins will see new controls in your Office 365 Compliance Center, allowing you to easily set up DLP policies for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. As a further protection, we recently announced even more protection controls with policy tips integrated throughout Office desktop apps—from Outlook and now to Word, PowerPoint and Excel—providing consistent notification across all of their productivity applications. IT admins also can configure their policy tips so that users can interact with the pertinent policy, for example, providing a business justification to override the policy or reporting a false positive.

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In the coming weeks and months, we will continue adding new features. Below is a brief overview of what’s available now and what’s coming next.

Currently rolling out Coming next
Create automated policies with any of the
available built-in sensitive information types
Exceptions for locations and conditions in your policies
Detect external sharing and apply appropriate actions Ability to encrypt content as an action
Scope DLP policies to specific SharePoint or OneDrive sites Support for custom classifications and document fingerprinting
Policies based on document properties (metadata) Shared by/by member of conditions
Block or restrict access to the sensitive content
Customizable Policy tips and user notifications via policy tip and email
Admin-facing Incident reports and reporting

A comprehensive overview of information protection

To learn more about DLP in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business, watch today’s Office Mechanics show, in which Asaf Kashi, principal group program manager for Information Protection, provides a comprehensive overview of how DLP helps protect against data loss. Asaf explains how an enterprise IT infrastructure and the Microsoft cloud work holistically, enabling security and compliance without impacting end-user productivity. Microsoft then utilizes DLP to scan files in transit and at rest. Asaf also reviews how easy it is for IT admins to manage and audit their company policies through the Office 365 Compliance Center.

As sharing and collaboration evolve across applications and devices, our vision is to deliver DLP to all the places where you want to protect your data, with the goal of protecting information from when documents are initially created to when they are stored or shared. As DLP rolls out to your Office 365 Compliance Center in the coming weeks, we encourage you to try it out.

OneDrive for Business sync client preview and new browser, mobile, IT control and developer experiences

Our team has set up a site for you to reserve a spot for your organization to start testing out the limited preview of the new sync client. When the preview is ready, we’ll send you an email with instructions on how to download it and set it up. Updates across browser experiences, mobile apps, IT controls and developer experiences have already begun rolling out to Office 365.

If that isn’t enough OneDrive news for you, we’ve also published how Lotus F1 Team’s IT crew implemented OneDrive for Business with recently updated IT controls on today’s Office Mechanics show. And we’ve begun rolling out Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online to work with the new Office 2016 apps. It’s a big day for OneDrive for Business, and you can find out more on today’s OneDrive Blog post.

Announcing general availability of ExpressRoute for Office 365

Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 enables organizations to establish a private, managed network connection to Office 365 as an alternative to connecting over the Internet. This direct connection offers customers more predictable network performance, an SLA for guaranteed availability and additional data privacy. As more organizations depend on Office 365 for document collaboration and communications, they will come to depend more and more on the network connectivity they have between their users and Office 365.

Today we’re pleased to announce that Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 is now generally available from these network operators:

  • British Telecom
  • Equinix
  • Tata Communications
  • TeleCity Group
  • Verizon

You can read about how Microsoft is using ExpressRoute for Office 365 in the Microsoft IT white paper, “Optimizing network performance for Microsoft Office 365.”

Connecting your network to Office 365 using Azure ExpressRoute

Depending on your network configuration, here’s how you can work with network operators offering ExpressRoute for Office 365 to establish a connection between your network and Office 365:

  • If your organization already uses Azure ExpressRoute, your network operator can simply turn on the connectivity for you. Since use of Office 365 generates additional network traffic, you should discuss the requirements for additional bandwidth with your network operator.
  • Organizations using IP VPN technology for a WAN provided by a network operator can ask the network operator to add Office 365 as a node on your WAN. Once Office 365 connectivity is added, Office 365 services appear as if they are on your WAN—like an offsite datacenter.
  • ExpressRoute can also support large or point-to-point network connections. If you have a large broad network, then you may already have a network connection in a co-location facility where Azure ExpressRoute is available. You should work with your network provider to identify the best way to connect to Azure ExpressRoute.

For more information, read about ExpressRoute for Office 365 here and watch this episode of Office Mechanics:

Download our free Office 2016 Quick Start Guides

To coincide with last week’s release of Office 2016, we put together a set of handy Quick Start Guides that introduce you to the newest versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote.

Office 2016 Quick Start Guides

Whether you’re coming from previous versions of your favorite apps and want a quick orientation about where to find familiar basics or you’re entirely new to Office and want an overview of how to get to some of the most important things, each of our Quick Start Guides provides helpful information that you can read, print out and share.

Introducing Office 365 Planner

We are excited to introduce a brand new experience in Office 365—Office 365 Planner, which offers people a simple and highly visual way to organize teamwork. Planner makes it easy for your team to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, share files, chat about what you’re working on, and get updates on progress. Planner can be used to manage a marketing event, brainstorm new product ideas, track a school project, prepare for a customer visit, or just organize your team more effectively.

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Introducing Office 365 Planner 3Teamwork organized

One of the most valuable aspects of Planner is that it helps teams organize their work visually. Each plan has its own Board, and within each Board, each work item or task is represented by a Card that can have due dates, attachments, categories and conversations associated with it. Team members receive an email notification whenever they are assigned a new Card or added to a conversation.

Every Card can have documents (or pictures) attached that automatically get rich image previews, so it is easy to understand what the Card is about at a glance. In addition, Cards can be organized on the Board into customizable columns called Buckets, which can be prioritized and tagged with colored labels.

Planner also gives you views to keep your work on track. The Hub view lets you track overall progress across all plans, while the “My tasks” view lets you filter down to see just what you need to do across every plan. In addition, the “Charts” view includes interactive charts for visualizing people’s progress against deadlines. Click a red segment on the histogram to quickly see which aspects of a plan are behind schedule and use the Board to rebalance work across the team. With Planner, everyone is always on the same page. A single glance of the Charts view is all it takes to know where things stand.

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Works great with all of Office 365

As a member of the Office 365 suite, Planner is integrated with other Office 365 services, such as Office 365 Groups, so all of the conversations in Planner are available in Outlook 2016, Outlook on the Web and the Outlook Groups Mobile Apps.

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Planner is also an ideal way to organize your Office files. Attach your Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents to a Card and start editing them right away. When a document is attached to a Card, it is stored in a SharePoint Online document library, allowing you to work on them offline.

Planner in education

Plans are also a great way to organize schoolwork. Every plan has a OneNote Notebook created for it, which means you can organize your coursework and share all your notes with classmates.

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Enterprise ready, globally available

We have worked hard to ensure Planner lives up to the rigorous requirements of Microsoft’s largest enterprise customers. Technical features such as multiple redundant backups, virtually instantaneous recovery and HIPAA, FISMA, ISO27001 and EU Model compliance ensure that your data is safe, secure and always available. To make certain everyone has fast access to Planner, the service is deployed in multiple datacenters around the globe, so everyone has their work close at hand. You can visit Office 365 Trust Center to learn more.

Planner availability

Office 365 Planner will be available in preview to Office 365 First Release customers starting next quarter, so keep an eye on your Office 365 app switcher and give us your feedback after you make your first plan!

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Chicago improves city services with Office 365

The City of Chicago government leaders wanted to improve its employees’ ability to communicate and collaborate, as well as automate key processes that deliver important services to residents. The city needed an integrated platform to help it do all of this, but also to make the most effective use possible of taxpayer dollars. After comparing enterprise-class cloud computing services in categories such as cost, security, functionality and ease of adoption, the City of Chicago settled on Microsoft Office 365.

“When we looked across all the categories, we saw that Microsoft Office 365 would best fit our needs,” says Brenna Berman, chief information officer at the City of Chicago.

Microsoft Office 365 has helped the city government, which includes 30 distinct departments better work together. It helped to improve communication and collaboration, reduce redundancy and increase efficiency. It even reduced email costs per user by 80 percent.

“We have smoother intradepartmental communication, less need for physical meetings and paper printouts, and a more consistent conduit for information sharing,” said Brenna Berman, chief information officer for the City of Chicago.

Since the move, the City of Chicago has also sped up and automated some key processes, such as invoicing and reimbursement, all while remaining compliant with government standards for information and financial security. The hard copy paperwork from a single project from the city’s transportation or finance department could fill dozens of boxes, which was not only a storage dilemma, but difficult to search.

“In the past, it could take multiple days to track down a piece of information,” says Cheryl Donegan, director of Administration for Finance at the Chicago Department of Transportation. “Now it takes just a few minutes, so we’re operating more efficiently while providing greater transparency to the contractors who work on our projects.”

Managing your security and compliance needs with the new Office 365 Security and Compliance Center

With the recent launch of new security features in Office 365, such as Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and Mobile Device Management (MDM), we are expanding the mission of the Office 365 Compliance Center and, in turn, are renaming it the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center. We’ve also redesigned the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center with a new user experience that is more intuitive, informative, scalable and insightful.

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The new Security and Compliance Center includes all the same great features you’re accustomed to in the Compliance Center but surfaces them for a much more intuitive user experience. You’ll also start seeing the Office 365 security features, such as ATP, DLP and MDM, in the Security and Compliance Center during the first half of 2016.

Explore the new Office 365 Security and Compliance Center

You can check out the new Security and Compliance Center now through a direct link in the Compliance Center or by clicking on the Security and Compliance tile in the Office 365 waffle.

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Transition to the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center

We have already begun transitioning existing Compliance Center customers to the new Security and Compliance Center experience. Your feedback is incredibly important, so please use the feedback tool in the Security and Compliance Center to let us know what you think. For more information, read Overview of the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center.