For September, Microsoft decided to focus on the biggest news that took place at Microsoft Ignite 2020 including new updates for Microsoft Endpoint Manager, Microsoft Teams, and more.
Check out what’s new with Microsoft 365 for September 2020:
Tasks in Teams
Tasks in Microsoft Teams is now generally available to users using the desktop app. It gives users the ability to manage all their plans and individual tasks in a centralised space.
How it works
The Tasks app appears as a tab and displays both Planner and To-Do in one place. Some new additions within Tasks include full views of tasks such as Board, Charts, Schedule, and List views and task publishing.
For IT Admins
In Tasks, Microsoft included new ways for IT admins to easily manage the app for their company including being able to enable or disable tasks in various teams for the entire organisation or individual users. They can create and set a policy which automatically pins the Tasks app on the left side of Teams, which hiding My Tasks lists from users.
Together Mode - Scenes
Since many users still work from home, it’s more important than ever to ensure everyone stays connected as organically as possible.
Together Mode is a new feature available for meetings within Teams that uses AI technology to digitally place participants in the same background, like an auditorium for example. With Together Mode, Microsoft’s aim is to make meetings feel more engaging by allowing users to see others’ facial expressions and body language. This makes it a bit easier to spot non-verbal cues, a struggle with remote calls.
Some new scenes will include:
- An auditorium
- A conference room
- A coffee shop
Together mode – Scenes will be available to Microsoft users later in 2020.
Developed because of popular demand, Microsoft’s Breakout Rooms allow meeting organisers to split up participants, creating smaller groups for discussions. Presenters are able to switch between groups, make announcements, and close Breakout Rooms to let participants return to the main meeting.
Soon users will be able to further customise their meetings with Teams Meeting Extensions.
Users can integrate various apps and create customised meeting experiences with the new Extensions feature. The new extension can be accessed via AppSource or from Apps in Microsoft Teams.
The feature will be available for all users in October. Read more about the meeting capabilities here.
Later this year, IT admins will be able to customise their team’s line of business app catalogue, using their organisation’s branding. This will enhance the experience for users and increase organic discovery and the use of the organisation’s line of business app.
Bulk Policy Assignment
The Bulk Policy Assignment is now available to admins who are in charge of deploying new Teams features. Admins can now apply policies in bulk with up to 50,000 users at a time.
Get Started with
Microsoft Endpoint Manager
What is Microsoft Tunnel and how is it going to help admins?
According to Mayunk Jain, the tunnel has been in private preview for some time and Microsoft has seen tremendous customer feedback on it. It’s now in public preview.
“What it allows you to do is give your iOS and Android users a way to access on-prem resources and apps. This is very important now that they’re working remotely, as it allows them to take advantage of single sign-on with Azure Active Directory and conditional access.
We feel conditional access with Azure AD is a key part of your zero-trust security and the Tunnel is integrated with that solution.
The tunnel for end-users is going to be like an app that appears on the App Store for iOS or the Play Store for the Google ecosystem. You can onboard it from the Endpoint Manager Admin Centre.”
What can you tell us about being able to manage Virtual Endpoints?
“Again we come back to the whole remote work and how virtual desktops or Windows virtual desktops have saved us in the last six to eight months. And the new thing that you’ll be able to do now is to manage those virtual machines using Microsoft Endpoint Manager. As long as those machines are hybrid, you can manage them through the Endpoint Manager Admin Centre, just the same way as you would do any physical device.”
This is ideal for an IT admin as this feature allows them to easily deploy, secure and scale their management processes in one place, no matter if it’s mobile, physical, or virtual.
Virtual Endpoints will be available for Windows 10 Enterprise desktops immediately. Public preview for Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session will be available later this year.
macOS and iPad Capabilities for Admins
According to Mayunk, some new capabilities for Mac admins include a new enrollment experience with single sign-on capabilities across apps and the ability to deploy scripts to devices. Another feature includes a managed app life cycle directly from Apple.
“This is a new managed app feature coming in the next release of Mac OS that ensures not only ease of management but also security. For example, if a user un-enrolls their Mac OS and it used to be managed by Microsoft, all the apps that are deployed using the Microsoft Endpoint manager will also be removed.
In addition to that, we previously announced something called Shared iPad Support. This is something that Apple has introduced.”
Shared iPad Support is specifically useful for users in the healthcare industry. Since most people work in shifts, they can easily sign in, use the device during their shift and then easily sign out of their profile. All their data is removed to ensure it’s ready for the next user.
“One thing that IT admins really need right now is visibility into the end user’s device health or just issues they may be having before they have them. Any help desk ticket is really expensive and we want to minimise the number of help desk tickets, especially remote ones.”
The Endpoint Analytics feature in Microsoft Endpoint Manager helps identify hardware issues that cause devices to become slow or specific policies. This allows IT admins to take action before users experience issues.
How to view Endpoint Analytics
- Navigate to Endpoint Manager Admin centre
- Click on Reports, then Endpoint Analytics
- Pick a start button
The data from Endpoint Analytics is stored in a central location called the Productivity Score, which helps provide admins with a comprehensive view of the organisation’s productivity levels.
Endpoint Analytics is now generally available.
Productivity Score puts focus on two key factors — employee experience and technology experience— with three new categories available. Two of the categories focus on employee experience and includes Meetings and Teamwork. These categories help leaders find better ways to help people work better together.
These will be available at the end of October.
The third category focuses on technology experience and includes Microsoft 365 Apps Health. This feature provides performance and currency insights to help admins ensure critical apps are up to date, secure and supports employee workflows.
This category is now available to users.
Business Continuity Special Report
The Business Continuity Special Report within Productivity Score had a few updates as well. This report measures if an organisation’s productivity has been affected in the last few months with users shifting to remote work.
Azure AD Application Proxy
Microsoft recently made updates to Azure AD Application Proxy to help users protect identities, apps and services in the cloud and on-premises. Users can now connect apps that use Header Based Authentication.
What is Header Based Authentication?
Authenticate users based on the user’s information (username) received in the HTTP headers.This feature is commonly used in settings where a reverse proxy/vpn is used and it requires user authentication. (miniorage.com)
It will be available in public preview at the end of October.
Outlook for Mac
The new Outlook for Mac features a redesigned user experience and new updates to the mail, search, calendar and people features. The latest updates put a focus on intuitive design and the simplified tools help manage users’ email and calendar experience.