Darkweb, ransomware, and Human mistakes: recovery for Microsoft 365

The push for Digital transformation has accelerated due to the pandemic, but so have ransomware attacks and other threats to business data. With cyber attacks getting more sophisticated, is your data protection plan robust enough for the attacks? 

More than 25 million! employee passwords at Fortune 1000 companies are available readily in dark web markets & data dumps.

Preparing for this webinar I came across tools on the darkweb for hacking Microsoft 365 and Office 365 among other SaaS services. It’s very sad to see how easy it is to do a targeted attack. I expect you’ll be surprised as well with how simple the hackers have made it to get into any SaaS system… and if you think your on premise environment is any harder, don’t fool yourself… those passwords aren’t just for the cloud. The sophistication of the tools, and the ability for hackers to get at your environment puts extra pressure on ensuring you have proper backup tools as simply providing antivirus and layers of security tools aren’t enough.

By 2022…70% of organizations will have suffered a business disruption due to unrecoverable data loss in a SaaS application. Source: Gartner 2019 “Assuming SaaS Applications Don’t Require Backups is Dangerous.”

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • Recent real-world cyber attacks examples and understand how it could happen to you
  • How to setup centralized backup for business data scattered across different locations
  • How to build a robust disaster recovery plan for ransomware preparedness
  • Understand Zero Trust and how critical and relevant it is today

 When it comes to cyber attacks, it’s not “if” but “when” will it happen! Join the webinar with Microsoft MVP Joel Oleson and Synology to learn how to build a robust data protection plan.

Join me Tuesday November 9 for “Darkweb, Ransomware, and Inevitable human mistakes: Disasters and recovery for your Microsoft environment” hosted by Synology.

<<Register Now >>

The CEO’s Microsoft Teams calls keep dropping… What do you do?

Troubleshooting Teams can be intimidating when it seems like you aren’t getting clear answers for executives, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m delivering a webinar with Panagenda to quickly get to the bottom of these call dropping and call quality issues… who wants to sound like a robot?

Join me and the experts at Panagenda on an educational webinar on troubleshooting call quality for executives, VIPs, and those special people in your life…

With Microsoft Teams replacing your organization’s phone system, it is imperative that Teams call quality be consistent and reliable, especially for executives. But when problems arise you need to react quickly, spotlight the problem, and get it fixed. However, without the detailed telemetry data to perform root cause analysis, reported issues continue unchecked by most IT groups. This is painfully true for remote workers where IT has visibility gaps for home networks, internet service providers (ISPs), and endpoint computer performance.

Having the viewpoint from the end-user digital experience is of utmost importance when trying to find the root cause for Teams call quality performance issues. And it’s NOT about just identifying the area related to the problem (i.e., High CPU or Memory Usage, Slow ISP Speeds), it’s about understanding what was causing the problem during the call. What processes and applications were running on the endpoint computer and how was the performance from the home office network and ISP (i.e., Dropped Packets, Hop Count, Round-Trip Times, Peering Distance).

In this webinar, you will receive an introduction to OfficeExpert Endpoint Performance Monitoring (EPM). This new module provides data analytics for Microsoft Teams performance and availability from the end-user perspective. If you want to know the truth about your Teams call quality experience, then please join us to see how actionable insights can speed troubleshooting and help remediate issues before they become frustrations for one of your executives.

The webinar will explore topics including:

· Fast troubleshooting for call quality issue resolution

· Proactive monitoring remote user digital experience

· Identify slow ISP’s causing poor call quality for remote users

· Detailed analytics for end-point computers (CPU, memory usage, background processes, etc.)

· And more… 

Don’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of this timely information.

>> Register and attend for a chance to win a free Xbox One!

Teams Admins and Architects Essentials Webinar Series

September is a busy month with 3 new webinars in a series I’m titling this series the “Teams Admin and Architects Essentials.” I’ll be delivering 3 one hour free webinars diving into the latest and greatest from Microsoft across three key areas of governance, architecture, and recovery. Feel free to register for one or all of them.

The three webinars all in September should build upon the concepts of Teams as an organizing layer with emphasis on governance, management, architecture and design with a focus on service management and administration. The series is sponsored by TeamsHub which will be featured in each of the 3 webinars. Here are the details of each of the webinars:

Governing Teams, SharePoint, and Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365, SharePoint and Teams have grown exponentially during COVID and the work from home mandates. In addition, Teams now has over 145 million daily active users as of April 2021. SharePoint Online has over 200 million daily active users. With all of this incredible momentum in remote work, online productivity, collaboration, and communication there’s a lot of pressure to provide good guidance around adoption with transparent governance. Unfortunately due to the rush of the platform the opposite has been happening with poor adoption techniques and poor habits around both provisioning and non existent oversight and cleanup. With the uncontrolled viral growth many customers have taken a back seat allowing things to grow out of control. In this product focused 1 hour session we’ll dive into the key success factors of governance and help you understand how to automate and keep your environment secure, encrypted, auditable and trustworthy. In addition this webinar will include a demo on TeamsHUB designed to help you get your arms around your environment providing easy to use automated processing to govern.

Thursday, Sept. 2nd at 1 PM Eastern/10 AM Pacific

>> Register Now or Get More Info

See you there!

Architecting Microsoft Teams for Lifecycle

Out of the box Microsoft Teams is open and ready go viral from an external sharing perspective, but it quickly gets to a point where it goes from being a trusted platform to being considered a liability.  Companies may find it tedious to audit and automate.  It is absolutely imperative you keep a handle on your environment with enforcement policies. You shouldn’t go without any cleanup and archiving, and oversight is key… this is where automation and approval routing can simplify your life.  Following guidance along a maturity model to help the organization learn the platform, learn the tools, and understand the platform and capabilities along with building support for a structured dev ops and business supportability through an entire lifecycle will position your environment in a unified approach for modern teamwork.  Getting your hands around proper archiving of inactive Teams not only makes it easier to manage, but keeps the environment more secure and trusted.

We’ll cover a Unified Governance approach for Teams breaking down People, Process and Technology.  Help you understand how to build out a proper information architecture in Teams that supports a global navigation, strategies for discovery, and integrated communication.  Along with a more comprehensive approach to business unit builder and dev ops strategies with preproduction environments. All services across the Microsoft 365 platform can find their way into Teams with Microsoft 365 Groups which when positioned properly can create a powerful unit for security and lifecycle. – Microsoft Teams as a Platform – Maturity – Initial Adoption and On boarding for Commercial Apps – Repeatable Provisioning with Consistent Best Practices with App Templates – Defined Preproduction Environment and a Culture for App Makers – Managed Structured Power Platform COE with Intranet and Personalization including N Tiered Apps including Viva Connections

Wednesday, Sept. 15th at 1 PM Eastern/10 AM Pacific

>> Register Now or Get More Info

See you there!

Microsoft Teams – Managing Archiving, Deletion & Recovery across Microsoft 365

What happens when someone deletes a team or a file? How long and when does Microsoft provide the recycle bin and recovery services? What happens if someone runs a malicious ransomware script that encrypts and locks them out the OneDrive or SharePoint libraries and anything they are connected to? In this session we’ll cover recovery options in Microsoft 365 services. It’s not just Teams, but OneDrive, SharePoint, Exchange, Stream and Planner that increasingly contain critical business these days. What about Dataverse? When was the last time you looked into the recovery options for these services? Microsoft has been very clear about backup and recovery and yet 70% of organizations have simply ignored any plans to setup their own backup and recovery. In this session we’ll cover the out of the box options, Microsoft SLAs as well as introduce you to the archiving, deletion, and lifecycle management options of TeamsHUB with Azure backup options for quick file, document, site and Teams recovery.

Audience: IT Managers, Architects, Admins, Tenant Admins, Business IT Groups

Tuesday, Sept. 28th at 1 PM Eastern/10 AM Pacific

>>Register and Get More Info

See you there!

The Next Wave Is Viva… Are You Ready?

Microsoft Viva is not well understood by most. Many are confused… Is it a product? it is a service? Is it a series of products? Why do they call them modules?

Microsoft Viva is a Wave. Microsoft has announced the first four modules, but they aren’t licensed together or bundled together. In the beginning back in February I was calling Viva “Marketecture.” Maretecture is when the marketing team owns the strategy and architecture. I’m saying this a little tongue in cheek, as Viva is a series of products that originally weren’t designed to be together, but with a big enough drum and a marketing powerhouse like Microsoft. The product teams are falling in line and the first four modules of this Viva wave has been announced.

Microsoft Viva from Microsoft – highlighted are the launched products

Alone customers are used to SAAS services simply being upgraded along the way. Microsoft Viva is different. Each of these modules needs to be looked at individually and considered as new rich functionality. The positioning around Employee Experience along with Employee Engagement provides an opportunity to engage a number of new business unit technology focused groups such as Intranet teams, Marcom, corporate communications, HR IT, and HR services groups, HR University LMS teams focused on learning and instruction along with CXOs focused on employee services. Imagine executives who may pick up on any of these modules as truly pluggable in Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Viva is a wave of pluggable modules that need internal campaigns so the right business groups can be aware of them. I’ve put together a graphic to help provide some visibility around these new modules.

Microsoft Viva Infographic

If you like the infographics, feel free to download them and share them in your powerpoints with your organization. I’m working to improve the education and awareness on Microsoft Viva.

I’m working on a series of webinars to help provide more background and depth on Microsoft Viva and how to approach it for your organization.

It’s important again that you not just simply think of these as simple apps that you can add optionally to Teams. These are a major investment from Microsoft and this wave is a great opportunity for IT to get closer to the business units and in providing additional functionality to your organizational business solutions. Microsoft recently featured the Viva wave in Microsoft Mechanics. I put together a couple of their screenshots into one. You can quickly see here these are not simple apps, but designed to provide rich integration across the Microsoft 365 apps and services with additional extensibility. I hope you can join me in these upcoming free webinars. 1) Introduction to Microsoft Viva 2) Vivafy – A tactical deeper dive into Viva Connections and Viva Topics.

The first webinar is:
Introducing Microsoft Viva

Microsoft announced Viva in February 2021, it is a movement toward employee experience that brings together communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights. Powered by Microsoft 365 and experienced primarily through Microsoft Teams. Viva fosters a culture where people and teams are empowered to be their best from anywhere. Viva itself has four main components: – Viva Connections – as the enabler for plugging your SharePoint Intranet into Teams formerly known as Teams Home Site App. – Viva Topics – one of the products from the Project Cortex initiative. It is focused on connecting knowledge and experts. – Viva Insights  – delivers focus on employee engagement with consideration for health and wellbeing. – Viva Learning is an aggregation of your skilling across the enterprise with LMS platform integration and just-in-time delivery in the your Teams. We’ll dive into each of these tools and help you better understand availability, licensing, and enterprise positioning and roadmap. Audience: Marketing, Communications, HR IT, IT Managers, Directors, Microsoft 365 Admins, and Teams Administrators Level: 100 & 200 : Introduction and Assumes Basic Microsoft Teams Experience

Register for this free webinar

Tue, Aug 10, 2021 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM PDT

>> Register Now<<

“VIVAFY” Your SharePoint Intranet with Teams and Viva

Most companies are using Teams for chat, meetings, and basic collaboration.  SharePoint Online has been a neglected investment who have invested in Microsoft 365 with many companies still running their Intranets in classic or even in SharePoint on premise.  What is to be done?

How do you take advantage of this Viva wave? Agenda: In this session we’ll break down the tactical steps to take your SharePoint Intranets in whatever phase you are in, into your modern Teams environment for an improved experience. Some may simply be ready to create the powershell package and get Viva Connections deployed to take advantage of the app bar, search, and targeting, but others will need to prepare and should prepare.  Here are some of the topics: – Get Your Intranet, Corporate Communications and Org News to Modern SharePoint Online – Design your Branding, Header/Footer, Site Design & Look Strategy – Design your Global Navigation, Information Architecture, and Hubs – Create and Deploy Powershell Package including Icons – Set your Root site and Official News – Manage your Taxonomy, M365 Groups, and Audience Targeting

Audience: Marketing, Communications, HR IT, IT Managers, Directors, Microsoft 365 Admins, and Teams Administrators Level: 100 & 200 Introduction and Assumes Basic Microsoft Teams Experience

>>Register Now<<

Microsoft Viva Enhanced Teams as A Platform

You’ve invested in your SharePoint for many years and Teams has been your life blood for employee productivity, communication, and collaboration it only makes sense to bring them together even more and Microsoft Viva is that spice to the marriage of Teams and SharePoint. You’ve been wondering if Intranets are dead with all this modern collaboration in Teams and modern work… No, what’s been missing are the individual and enterprise pivots and employee engagement and personalization in all of this. Our ADD/ADHD brains can handle the distractions of chats and working with our Teams in a few channels, but add a ton of Teams and dozens of SharePoint sites and we’re lost.

Teams as A Platform Enhanced by Viva
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Microsoft Teams has become the de facto, irreplaceable way to get work done with brilliant chat, meetings, and channels for collaboration. In addition, Teams delivers on a platform of communication with productivity solutions, app catalog, and a customizable app platform, enhanced by the Viva employee experience for engagement.  

The out-of-the-box features really put it in a great position to show a wealth of rich collaboration and communication features that not only blow away the competition but set up teams for modern team work.  The Office online productivity suite that’s built into Microsoft 365 snaps right into teams seamlessly, even better than native SharePoint. 

Next, the app platform is a gold mine for hundreds of first- and third-party apps with rich integration from the likes of Salesforce and ServiceNow, and so much more.  The pure scale and repeatability of business solution building starts with templating from the new Microsoft Lists app in Teams (which is SharePoint under the hood.  You’ve got templates in Teams itself for taking your best practices in your tabs, apps, and channels structures, and then rich extensibility expends seemingly, endlessly, with the Power Platform of development tools from the likes of Power Automate and Power Automate desktop for workflow, and don’t forget the connectors from hundreds of repositories and line of business applications.  Seriously… What can’t you connect or automate and streamline now?  Power Apps are the low-code, no-code powerhouse of app building and construction for mobile, desktop and cloud construction of solutions that really span worlds. Bring Power BI for charting and reporting right into your Teams workspace channels, tabs and feeds along with Power Virtual Agents for construction of chat bots.  Let’s not forget the star of the show…Viva!

The new Viva killer apps from Viva Connections, the plumbing for bringing the latest and greatest investments from Microsoft and your intranet on SharePoint into Teams. The new SharePoint and Teams app bar incorporates the intranet and employee experience of Hubs and introduces a more integrated SharePoint experience in Teams all with a PowerShell script, a roadmap and a price that’s sure to please. 

It’s time to get serious about your information architecture from Hubs along with your terms and topics to support Viva Topics and SharePoint Syntex, which bring knowledge and expertise to search and the Topic Center to Teams. Viva Learning brings an enterprise of just-in-time learning management into an integrated platform in Teams. Microsoft learning and skilling in any Team can be shared in the channels.  Recommended, smaller bits of learning and courseware can be integrated daily rather than force feeding. 

Microsoft Viva Enhanced Teams
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Viva Insights rounds out the most recent, but please don’t count it as the last as we are already being promised more, rich engaging Microsoft employee experiences. Viva Insights app provides the individual information on productivity and well-being, and based on a large enough organization, it can provide a comprehensive anonymized look at large teams, groups and divisions, with productivity recommendations for the organization.  You may be surprised!  Maybe you haven’t been taking enough breaks or 45-minute meetings may be better, as meetings aren’t starting on time.  

Teams as a Platform has been enhanced with the Viva employee experience, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to get your enterprise communication and collaboration platform in order! Where is that architect anyway? Some may find that they had oversight and guidance during an intranet release and deployment, but this VIVA wave is a fantastic time to revisit the employee experience of your M365 solution as an integrated whole for your employees.  Seriously DO NOT take Viva as simply a short sighted set of products that don’t relate to your enterprise.  These are killer apps that are purposefully built to engage, connect, skill up, and provide the glue, the stickiness and delight, but not by pressing the setup button…  they do need thought, planning, and consideration for your industry, your architecture, your world.  

Many intranets may not be modern, communications and news focused, or hierarchical with information Hubs. It is time for a health check to evaluate employee engagement in context of the new solutions. The Viva enhancement (especially Connections and Topics) is not be ignored, as it is really an upgrade to SharePoint and Teams.  Now is the time to look at this release as the upgrade we’ve all been waiting for and not as another off-the-shelf feature. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work on a long, overdue employee-first strategy.  

Join host Valo Solutions for an information webinar on July 29, 2021. Valo is a Microsoft gold solutions partner and provides complete solutions for turnkey, modern intranets, extranets, connections and engagement platforms for Teams and SharePoint solution management along with many products to fill in the gaps.

Wanting to learn more about Teams as Platform or how Viva enhances the employee experience providing rich engagement, connection and insights? Join me in an upcoming webinar hosted by Valo:

Join the upcoming webinar

Valo Solutions, the host for this 07/29 Information Webinar, registration below, is a gold solutions partner to Microsoft providing many offerings related to, not only, filling gaps, but complete solutions, for turn-key modern intranets, extranets, connections, and engagement platforms for Teams and SharePoint solution management.

It is time for this core essential strategy and awareness to kick-off! It is fundamental for corporate communication, intranet teams, extranet solutions, marcom, and Human Resources, to get on board with this latest wave of Teams as a Platform and the Viva Enhanced Employee Experience… all in a platform you invested in long ago.

Join me, Joel Oleson for an information Webinar on this Topic and More! If you liked what you saw here and want more… You can join me on a Webinar where I will dig into Viva Enhanced, Teams As A Platform.

Webinar: Viva Enhanced, “Teams As A Platform”
Date: July 29th, 2021 at 10 am or 1 pm (Pacific Time)

More information and topic summary here, with two session coverage options to choose.

What are you waiting for? Join us already! We can’t wait to see you there!



It’s time to kick off this core essential strategy and awareness that is fundamental for corporate communication, intranet teams, extranet solutions, marcom, and human resources to get on board with this latest wave of Teams-as-a-Platform and the Viva-enhanced employee experience, all in all a platform you have invested your enterprise employee experience and modern teamwork.

If you feel inspired by any of the infographics in this post feel free to share them or use them in your presentations both in and outside your company.