Managing Mailbox Plans for Exchange Online

When you create a new mailbox in Exchange Online, that mailbox comes with specific settings, features, and protocols enabled. As an Office 365 administrator, you have the ability to go back and modify these settings later if—for instance—you don't want users to have their default mailbox size limit set at 100 GB, or if you want a specific retention policy applied to that mailbox.

If you'd like to take the next step with such customizations and have them automatically applied to mailboxes, then this is the blog post for you. The Office 365 roadmap shows that Microsoft is in the process of making enhancements to mailbox plans.

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Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for Office 365 Redux

Back in September of last year, I wrote an article about Multi-Factor Authentication for Office 365. Since the cloud refuses to stand still, it looks like it’s time to update that post with some new information.

The original problem of Office 365 not being a single application, but instead a collection of applications, still exists. The Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) story for the individual parts of Office 365 is, unfortunately, still disjointed and inconsistent. It will most likely be years before Microsoft can build all of the services within Office 365 into a consistent and operational framework, if such a change could even happen.

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Collaboration with Email

For most the last 25 years or so, most people with “office” jobs have relied on email as their primary communications tool at work. During that time, Microsoft has added many ways for groups of people to collaborate within their email clients. Distribution lists, public folders, shared mailboxes, resource mailboxes, site mailboxes, and now Groups each give end-users different functionality. How does an organization decide which of these options to use? When are shared mailboxes the best choice?

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Skype for Business Hybrid Options

I have spent most of the last six years of my professional life configuring Exchange hybrid deployments for organizations looking to move their email into Office 365. Speaking from the perspective of someone who has set it up repeatedly, Exchange hybrid is straight forward. You take your on-premises Exchange organization’s and run the Hybrid Connectivity Wizard (HCW) to connect to Office 365. I suppose there is more to it than that, but this blog post is not the place to go into those details.

In this blog post, I want to talk about the hybrid options for Skype for Business. Hybrid for Skype for Business is a much newer offering from Microsoft, and in my opinion (as someone who has not set it up for hundreds of customers) much more complex.

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What Does “Supported” Mean to Microsoft?

There are a few words Microsoft likes to use in several different situations. “Federated” is a great example of this. Federated can mean several different things in the Microsoft world, and it can sometimes be hard to tell what sort of “federation” you’re talking about.

“Supported” is another word Microsoft uses to mean different things in different situations, and what I’d like to talk about in this blog post.

The support cycle for Microsoft products has long been a point of contention for enterprise customers. Too long, too short, too many updates, not enough updates — I've heard every sort of complaint you can imagine, and I might even agree with many of them. Can you call Microsoft to get help with an “unsupported” configuration? Will you get patches for software that is no longer supported? Is Microsoft still developing new features for your software? Is it safe to run software after it is out of support?

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