New Features in Office 365 Message Encryption

I have long been interested in encryption. I started off my IT career in the United States Marine Corps where I had a Top-Secret security clearance and frequently worked with classified message traffic. During this time, I learned a lot about the rules of encryption and security. Most of what I learned, however, is that encryption is incredibly hard to do correctly.

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Working with Azure Building Blocks

In a previous series of blog posts, I started exploring Azure Resource Manager (ARM) as a tool for automating the deployments of resources within Azure. ARM is, as far as I can tell, a great tool. The problem with using ARM is its complicated to use. I can’t claim to have really mastered the art of deploying resources in Azure with ARM myself. Hopefully in the fairly near future I'll have an Azure project that will force me to figure out the more advanced features and functionality for ARM.

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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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Exploring Azure Stack

The cloud! We get it. Specialization has been the way of the world since the industrial revolution, and IT isn't immune from that trend. 

The financial model makes sense for software companies and their customers. The support model makes sense for IT departments. Cloud makes sense for everyone…except when it doesn’t. 

The problem with "all cloud all the time" is some things must remain on-premises. If you are a regular reader, you've figured out that I have a love-hate relationship with the cloud. There is a lot of upside to moving some workloads into cloud services. I’m also a firm believer that the cloud has considerable downsides. 

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