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Connecting Technology and Business.

Six tips to a better engaged online meeting

15 percent of an organization’s collective time is spent in meetings, as reported by the Harvard Business Review. But as technologies change, workloads increase and attention spans shorten, truly reaching your audience can be a challenge. Making use of tools like Skype for Business (SfB) for such meetings can not only reduce the challenges of distance and travel but also give the participants an added luxury of attending the meeting from wherever they are – not necessarily at their office meeting rooms. Result? More attendance. More savings in travel costs.

But there is a flipside to this.

A major hurdle is addressing the audience across multiple locations. Attendees might join from a conference room at office or might connect from various enterprise or home connections. Involving the audience and making them feel that their efforts are appreciated will go a long way in making the meeting successful. But, this might be an unsurmountable challenge.

Here are six tips to make your SfB meetings and webinars more interesting and fruitful:

Send a meeting request in advance – Use your Outlook calendar to open a new meeting and choose a suitable date and time. You can make use of the Scheduling Assistant for this purpose. Include all the names of the invitees to the event one below the other. (Include also names of people who you want to just inform of this meeting – though they might not participate – and mark them as optional attendees). Then choose the date and the time slot in which all required attendees are available. Optionally, add a room if you want, to book it for your convenience. (This must be enabled already in your enterprise). Set a reminder for the meeting depending upon the preparation time required for the meeting.

Make joining hazel-free—Click the “Skype meeting” option to include the auto generated hyperlink Join Skype Meeting appear in the body of the meeting invitation. Also, include any audio bridge numbers, participant PINs, document attachments (Optionally, include a Meeting Notes OneNote notebook page) in the invitation. Add reusable parts of documents – if any - that have been already shared among the users internally by clicking on the Document Item feature. Once the invitation is received at the participants’ end, all that he/she needs to do to join the meeting is the one-click on the Join Skype Meeting link.

Take control of your meeting - Make use of the Meeting Options feature to choose who all should wait in the lobby or join the meeting without waiting. You can also nominate / manage presenters for and during the meeting. This will provide an uninterrupted flow to keep everyone’s attention on the content being presented. You can also set some limitations – disabling IM, mute attendees, block attendees’ video – only presenters can always share audio and video.

Show, don’t just tell, important information—Effective visual communication is key to employee engagement in meetings. Show videos, presentations, websites, pictures and presenters themselves—instead of a static image that’s easy to ignore. On-site employees shouldn’t get a different meeting experience or information from people joining the meeting from other locations.

Allow for feedback, comments and engagement—If employees feel that they can’t ask questions or get involved in a meeting, they’re likely to pay little or no attention to the proceedings. Keep watch on the IM window for comments or suggestions flowing in. Appoint a person (moderator?) to attend to questions from the audience so that queries can be addressed promptly. Conduct polls at intervals to receive feedback from the participants, to gauge the interest of the participants on the topic being handled, whether they are following your line of thought and also to make sure you are driving home your point.

Mind the anywhere any time any device access - Since the meeting attendees are given the freedom to choose which devices they use to join the meeting, it is also more likely that you will hold their engagement through the duration of your meeting. (It gives everyone the freedom to participate whatever works best for them: on-the-go, at their desk or from anywhere their devices are connected to the internet). Keep this distributed audience in mind when you are speaking and keep addressing them - if possible, by individual names - so that they feel engaged well.

Follow these and your next meeting might be the most productive ever.

Focus on Mails that matter most to you - let technology help!

Focused Inbox

Focused Inbox helps you focus on the emails that matter most to you. It separates your inbox into two tabs—Focused and Other. Your most important emails are on the Focused tab while the rest remain easily accessible—but out of the way—on the Other tab. You’ll be informed about email flowing to Other, and you can switch between tabs at any time to take a quick look.

How does Focused Inbox work?

Focused Inbox works with you to prioritize what's most important. What lands in Focused Inbox is based on the content of the email (e.g., newsletters, machine-generated email, and so on) and who you interact with most often. If you need to fine-tune your Focused Inbox, Move to Focused and Move to Other options are available to do that.

Focused Inbox was first released on Outlook for iOS and Android. All versions of Outlook that receive updates will soon become Focused Inbox capable, including Outlook 2016 for Windows, Outlook 2016 for Mac, Outlook on the web, and Mail for Windows 10. You'll see Focused Inbox once your Office 365 or Outlook.com mailbox is enabled for it.

Outlook on the web

Turn Focused Inbox on or off

 

  1. In Outlook on the web or Outlook.com, select Settings icon> Display settings > Focused Inbox.
  2. Under When email is received, select Sort messages into Focused and Other. The Focused and Other tabs will appear at the top of your mailbox. You’ll be informed about email flowing to Other, and you can switch between tabs any time to take a quick look.

If you want to turn off Focused Inbox, select Don't sort messages.On the Display Settings page you can turn Focused Inbox on or off

  1. Click OK.

Change how your messages get organized


If messages weren't organized the way you want, you can easily move them and specify where all future messages from that sender should be delivered.


  1. From your inbox, select the Focused or Other tab, and then right-click the message you want to move.
  2. If moving from Focused to Other, choose Move to Other > Move this conversation if you want only the selected message moved. Choose Move to Other > Always Move if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Other tab.

If moving from Other to Focused, choose Move to Focused > Move this conversation if you want only the selected message moved. Choose Move to Focused > Always move if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Focused tab.

Move to Focused and Move to Other options in Outlook on the web

Note:

  • Active Clutter users will see a prompt inviting you to try Focused Inbox.

  • After switching, you'll no longer receive less important email in the Clutter folder. Instead, email will be split between the Focused and Other tabs in your inbox. The same algorithm that moved items to the Clutter folder now powers Focused Inbox, meaning that any emails that were set to move to Clutter will now be moved to Other. Any messages already in your Clutter folder will remain there until you decide to delete or move them.

  • Even if you have turned off Clutter, you’ll receive a prompt to try the Focused Inbox when your mailbox is ready

  • As soon as you enable Focused Inbox, you’ll see the Focused and Other tabs at the top of your Inbox. The more you use Focused Inbox, the smarter it gets about how it organizes your messages. You can also teach Outlook what matters most to you by moving emails between Focused and Other, and setting overrides to make sure emails from certain senders always show up in a particular destination.

-Office Support pages

Microsoft obtains new cloud-centric ISO 27017 certification

Microsoft has announced that Microsoft Azure has obtained the ISO/IEC 27017:2015 certification, an international standard that aligns with and complements the ISO/IEC 27002:2013 with an emphasis on cloud-specific threats and risks.

 

This certification provides guidance on 37 controls in ISO/IEC 27002 and features seven new controls not addressed in ISO/IEC 27002. Both cloud service providers and cloud service customers can leverage this guidance to effectively design and implement cloud computing information security controls. Customers can download the ISO/IEC 27017 certificate which demonstrates Microsoft’s continuous commitment to providing a secure and compliant cloud environment for its customers.

 

Microsoft Azure helps customers meet their compliance requirements across a broad range of regulated industries and markets including financial services, healthcare, life sciences, media and entertainment, worldwide public sector, and US federal, state and local government.

- Office blogs

Now customers can perform a risk assessment on Office 365 services

Microsoft wants to ensure that its Office 365customers have access to the information that is relevant for them to perform a risk assessment on Office 365 services—on demand. Access to this information should be seamless.

 

To achieve these goals, they have released the Service Assurance Dashboard as part of the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center, which provides you immediate access to:

  • Details on how Office 365 implements security, privacy and compliance controls including details of how third-party independent auditors perform audits to test these controls.

  • Third-party independent audit reports including: SSAE 16 / SOC 1, SOC 2 / AT 101, ISO 27001 and ISO 27018.

  • Deep insights into how we implement encryption, incident management, tenant isolation and data resiliency.

  • Information on how you can leverage Office 365 security controls and configurations to protect your data.

While there are many detailed insights provided through Service Assurance, initial customer feedback indicates that Audited Controls are particularly helpful. The Audited Controls feature in Service Assurance helps you to understand how Office 365 protects customers' data by detailing:

  • Test status—Status of the Office 365 controls.

  • Control implementation details—Explanation of how Office 365 implements a control.

  • Testing performed to evaluate control effectiveness—How independent auditors test the effectiveness of our security, compliance and privacy controls.

  • Test date—When a control was validated.

  • Office 365 controls—How the Office 365 internal controls map to standard controls.

- Azure blog

Azure as a Backup solution for Microsoft Servers, Windows Clients and VMs

Azure Backup is a service that customers can use to back up and restore their data in the Microsoft cloud. It replaces the existing on-premises or off-site backup solution with a cloud-based solution that is reliable, secure, and cost-competitive. It also helps protect assets that run in the cloud. Azure Backup provides recovery services built on a world-class infrastructure that is scalable, durable, and highly available. 

Why use Azure Backup?

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Traditional backup solutions have evolved to treat the cloud as an endpoint similar to disks or tape. While this approach is simple, it is also limited. It does not take full advantage of an underlying cloud platform and translates to an inefficient, expensive solution. In contrast, Azure Backup delivers all the advantages of a powerful and affordable cloud backup solution.

 

Here are some of the key benefits that Azure Backup provides:

 

Feature

Benefit

Automatic storage management

No capital expenditure is needed for on-premises storage devices. Azure Backup automatically allocates and manages backup storage, and it uses a pay-as-you-use consumption model.

Unlimited scaling

Take advantage of high availability guarantees without the overhead of maintenance and monitoring. Azure Backup uses the underlying power and scale of the Azure cloud, with its nonintrusive auto-scaling capabilities.

Multiple storage options

Choose your backup storage based on need:

·         A locally redundant storage block blob is ideal for price-conscious customers, and it still helps protect data against local hardware failures.

·         A geo-replication storage block blob provides three more copies in a paired datacentre. These extra copies help ensure that your backup data is highly available even if an Azure site-level disaster occurs.

Unlimited data transfer

There is no charge for any egress (outbound) data transfer during a restore operation from the Backup vault. Data inbound to Azure is also free. Works with the import service where it is available.

Data encryption

Data encryption allows for secure transmission and storage of customer data in the public cloud. The encryption passphrase is stored at the source, and it is never transmitted or stored in Azure. The encryption key is required to restore any of the data, and only the customer has full access to the data in the service.

Application-consistent backup

Application-consistent backups on Windows help ensure that fixes are not needed at the time of restore, which reduces the recovery time objective. This allows customers to return to a running state more quickly.

Long-term retention

Rather than pay for off-site tape backup solutions, customers can back up to Azure, which provides a compelling tape-like solution at a low cost.

 - Azure web pages

Improve compliance with Office 365 Services

Organizations own the data they keep in the cloud and they need to know how it is being handled at all times.


Microsoft is the industry leader in cloud compliance for enterprise customers. With the Office 365 E5 plan, advanced compliance is integrated into the service, so organizations can meet their unique requirements using a single cloud service.

 

Microsoft recognizes that organizations want control over access to content stored in cloud services. To maximize data security and privacy for Office 365 customers, Microsoft has engineered the service to require nearly zero interaction with customer content by Microsoft employees. Access is obtained through a rigorous access control technology called Customer Lockbox for Office 365, which helps enterprises meet compliance obligations for explicit data access authorization. In the rare instance when a Microsoft service engineer needs access to enterprise data, access control is extended to you so that you grant final approval for access. Actions taken are logged and accessible to you so that they can be audited.

 

Office 365 Advanced eDiscovery simplifies the eDiscovery process, reducing the volume of data by finding near-duplicate files, reconstructing email threads and identifying key themes and data relationships. Leveraging machine learning and predictive coding, it helps compliance administrators intelligently explore and analyze large, unstructured datasets and quickly zero in on what’s relevant to save time and money.

-Office 365 pages from the net

Deploy your application in minutes instead of weeks

Choose your language, workload, operating system 

With support for Linux, Windows Server, SQL Server, Oracle, IBM, and SAP, Azure Virtual Machines gives you the flexibility of virtualization for a wide range of computing solutions—development and testing, running applications, and extending your datacenter. It’s the freedom of open-source software configured the way you need it. It’s as if it was another rack in your datacenter, giving you the power to deploy an application in minutes instead of weeks.

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Get more choice

It’s all about choice for your virtual machines. Choose Linux or Windows. Choose to be on-premises, in the cloud, or both. Choose your own virtual machine image or download a certified pre-configured image in our marketplace. With Virtual Machines, you’re in control.

Scale to what you need

Combine the performance of a world-class supercomputer with the scalability of the cloud. Scale from one to thousands of virtual machine instances. Plus, with the growing number of regional Azure datacenters, easily scale globally so you’re closer to where your customers are.

Pay only for what you use

Keep your budget in check with low-cost, per-minute billing. You only pay for the compute time you use.

Enhance security and compliance

We’ll help you encrypt sensitive data, protect virtual machines from viruses and malware, secure network traffic, and meet regulatory and compliance requirements.

-Azure web pages

 

Are you getting enough from your IT these days?

Take a minute to think about the applications you use, the programs you depend on and the technologies you’ve integrated into your business. Now ask yourself these questions: If a specific application supported my company in the past, how is it benefiting me now? Are our programs performing in line with our desired standard? What, if anything, am I doing to ensure my technology is not outdated? Is my vendor providing me with resources to manage my applications? Am I really getting the maximum business value from these solutions?

To answer these questions, many enterprise scale organizations use established processes to manage their technology. A technology lifecycle—or TLC—offers a systematic approach for assessing the state of your technologies. Thankfully, this indispensable method applies to both enterprise scale organizations and small and midsize businesses. So whether you’re an experienced IT professional or a technological tenderfoot, considering your TLC will yield promising, practical results.

Technology LifeCycle

Start

Plug in to success 2

Introduce yourself to the product’s benefits, programs, services and content. What’s new with the product? Who else is using it? How does it benefit them? From training resources to accessibility tools, analyzing your products’ perks in the early stages of implementation will drastically influence your business practices later on.

Decide

Plug in to success 3

Select the best product for your business. Evaluate the product to confirm its alignment with your business’s goals. Think about both your current and future needs. Is the product secure and compliant? Will the product scale with future growth? Can you connect with current product users? Is there ongoing support and training for the product? What does the future product roadmap look like? If you choose a product that is cost-effective, yet lacks specific market advantages, you may find yourself trailing behind your competitors.

Deploy

Plug in to success 4

Connect with the product’s customer services, including any deployment assistance programs, step-by-step setup guidance or visual assets. These documents will serve as a roadmap for the successful implementation of your product. Consider your strategies for product-integration. How do you plan for successful deployment and adoption? Can you find demos and guidance? What are the considerations for the businesses most like yours in similar industries, at similar size and with similar business objectives?

Manage

Plug in to success 5

Discover best practices for a successful product launch using an integrated admin console or alternative resources. How do you configure the product? How do you manage or administrate it? Are management and administration tools provided? How should you prepare for change and incidents? How can you assure your data is secure and company policies are being met? Researching practical ways for communicating the new product to employees will result in informed, confident and empowered users.

Develop

Plug in to success 6

Configure and customize the product and integrate it within your company. Develop new and extend existing features and functionalities. Connect the product with line of business applications. Is development guidance provided? Are there opportunities to learn about best practices and see how the product is being modified to solve real business goals? Budget time for aligning your company’s goals and interests with the product, choosing internal applications that further the interest of your organization.

Support

Plug in to success 7

Retain critical support contacts and information to resolve issues with your deployment and management of the product. Consider live support options including in-person, phone or chat. These options should be balanced by online troubleshooting and guidance. Is there a broad set of support options to help me address a range of potential issues? Do you get appropriate and timely notifications? Can you plan for known issues and quickly get unanticipated issues addressed?

Use

Plug in to success 8

Secure the best possible experience with your new technology for you and your end users. Invest in a product with training and adoption options designed specifically to encourage you and your company to further your understanding as you advance with your new technology. Learning how to manage and sustain the product is important for anyone in an IT or administrator role. Similarly, learning is critical for ensuring your end users get the most from your technology investments. Effective product usage can positively impact your business.

When assessing technology’s impact, Microsoft has committed to the TLC. In fact, Microsoft’s whole Office Suite is TLC–compatible, offering services, check-ins and pertinent information that might otherwise be unavailable to businesses. Though a technology lifecycle may be just one of the many factors a business-owner or IT professional considers when implementing new technologies in the workplace, the importance of securing quality products with strong business and support services that match your business’s needs cannot be stressed enough.

Rest assured by investing in your business, and thrive on your future success.

-Office Blogs

Check this out…

Many times we require a Check mark inserted in our documents. Many keep searching for this in the Webdings or Webdings fonts, then they copy and paste this in the document.

There is a quicker way to insert Check marks - a Tick mark or a Cross mark in Word.

You should use the character code of the Checkmark symbol. Remember that you will have to use the numerical keypad rather than the QWERTY keyboard. There are a series of codes that will enable you to insert these Check marks.

First you have to change the current font to “Wingdings”

Now, hold down Alt and use the numerical keypad (not the numbers at the top of your QWERTY keyboard) and enter any one of the following combination of numbers:

For Ticks

  • ALT + 0252 (without a box) ü
  • ALT + 0254 (with a box) þ

For Crosses

  • ALT + 0251 (without a box) û
  • ALT + 0253 (with a box) ý

Remember to switch back to your original font for continuing with your document.

You can also choose the Webdings font and use the following shortcuts to insert Tick marks and Check marks:

Type a for a and r for r

The Versatile Clipboard in Microsoft Office

No, the office clipboard does not hold just the last item that was Copied (Ctrl + C) or Cut (Ctrl + X). The Microsoft Office Clipboard holds up to 24 items at a time. Want to see the last 24 items that were clipped in the current session? Go to the Home tab, find the Clipboard panel at the far left and click on the dialog launcher (the diagonal arrow at the lower right of the panel). The Office Clipboard pane opens and anything you copy to the clipboard gets saved in the pane.

 


You can select any item, right-click on it, and select Paste or Delete. You can also Paste all of them in a document at once by clicking the Paste All button.