Legal Computer Consultants can help you manage your Azure costs in several ways. In this post we will discuss how snapshots of your servers can unexpectedly cause an unanticipated increase in your storage costs.

Best practices dictate that you manage snapshots carefully to avoid extra charges. Microsoft recommends that you manage snapshots in the following manner:
Delete and re-create snapshots associated with a blob whenever you update the blob, even if you are updating with identical data, unless your application design requires that you maintain snapshots. By deleting and re-creating the blob’s snapshots, you can ensure that the blob and snapshots do not diverge.
If you are maintaining snapshots for a blob, avoid calling UploadFile, UploadText, UploadStream, or UploadByteArray to update the blob, as those methods replace all of the blocks in the blob. Instead, update the fewest possible number of blocks by using the PutBlock and PutBlockList methods.

 

 

For more information see this Microsoft support article:   Understanding How Snapshots Accrue Charges.

Call Legal Computer Consultants at (800) 646-9199 to speak to an Azure engineer to help your firm reduce costs on Microsoft Azure.

 

 

Microsoft will roll out Windows 10 version 1903 beginning this month (May, 2019) with enhanced deployment options for IT administrators as well as security improvements. Microsoft plans to release a new “health dashboard” for Windows 10 users. It will show “near real-time” information on the Windows 10 rollout status and known issues across both feature and monthly updates.

See full article in Redmond Magazine at Windows 10 Version 1903 Arriving in May with Enhanced Controls. 

If your firm needs to comply with regulatory standards for retaining your data, the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center provides features to manage the lifecycle of your data in Exchange Online. This includes the ability to retain, audit, search, and export your data. These capabilities are sufficient to meet the needs of most firms.

However, some firms in highly regulated industries are subject to more stringent regulatory requirements. For example, firms that deal with financial institutions such as banks or broker dealers may be subject to Rule 17a-4 issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Rule 17a-4 has specific requirements for electronic data storage, including many aspects of record management, such as the duration, format, quality, availability, and accountability of records retention.

To help these firms better understand how the Security & Compliance Center can be leveraged to meet their regulatory obligations for Exchange Online, specifically in relation to Rule 17a-4 requirements, Microsoft has released an assessment in partnership with Cohasset Associates.

Cohasset validated that when Exchange Online and the Security & Compliance Center are configured as recommended, they meet the relevant storage requirements of CFTC Rule 1.31(c)-(d), FINRA Rule 4511, and SEC Rule 17a-4.

Click below to download the report by Cohasset.

Office 365 Exchange Online Cohasset SEC 17a-4(f) Assessment

Highly regulated industries are often required to store electronic communications to meet the WORM (write once, read many) requirement. The WORM requirement dictates a storage solution in which a record must be:

  • Retained for a required retention period that cannot be shortened, only increased.
  • Immutable, meaning that the record cannot be overwritten, erased, or altered during the required retention period.

In Exchange Online, when a retention policy is applied to a user’s mailbox, all of the user’s content will be retained based on the criteria of the policy. In fact, if a user attempts to delete or modify an email, a copy of the email before the change is made will be preserved in a secure, hidden location in the user’s mailbox. Retention polices can ensure that an organization retains electronic communications, but those policies can be modified.

By placing a Preservation Lock on a retention policy, an organization ensures that the policy cannot be modified. In fact, after a Preservation Lock is applied to a retention policy, the following actions are restricted:

  • The retention period of the policy can only be increased, not shortened.
  • Users can be added to the policy, but no user can be removed.
  • The retention policy cannot be deleted by an administrator.

For more information on how the Security & Compliance Center can be leveraged to meet your regulatory obligations for email with Office 365 Exchange Online, Contact Legal Computer Consultants at (800) 646-9199.

Azure Sentinel is a cloud-based security information and event management (SIEM) service.  SIEMs normally require a substantial upfront investment in hardware, software and infrastructure costs.  With Azure Sentinel there are no upfront costs, you only pay for what you use.  Azure Sentinel uses the power of artificial intelligence to ensure you are identifying real threats quickly and eliminates the need to spend time on setting up, maintaining, and scaling infrastructure.  

Azure Sentinel provides intelligent security analytics at cloud scale for your entire Law Firm. Azure Sentinel makes it easy to collect security data across your entire firm from devices, to users, to apps, to servers on any cloud.  For more information see video below .  

 

 

Office 365

New Tasks module in Outlook on the web as an updated Office 365 feature

We are excited to announce the new Tasks module in Outlook on the web as an updated Office 365 feature. We’ll begin rolling this feature out in mid-March.

This enhancement is related to Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 34338.

Office 365

How does this impact me?

Customers who opt-in to the early version of the new Outlook on the web will see a newly redesigned Tasks experience, powered by Microsoft To-Do. We’ll be gradually rolling this out to Targeted Release customers in March, and the rollout will follow the general release timeline of the new Outlook on the web.

This rollout is excluded from Office 365 subscriptions in GCC.

What should I do to prepare for this change?

If you white-list or block domains that can be accessed by your users – Please note that the new Tasks experience powered by To-Do uses the “to-do.office.com” domain, so you might wish to whitelist domains accordingly for your users to be able to use the new Tasks experience.

If you don’t white-list/block any domains, you don’t need to do anything, but may consider updating your user training, and notifying your helpdesk.

Microsoft Azure continued its fast growth in the marketplace with a 76% increase in revenue, year over year for its last reporting quarter.  The continued growth in the marketplace, dominated by Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, parallels the adoption rates of law firms migrating their workloads from on-premises servers to the public cloud.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement: “Our strong commercial cloud results reflect our deep and growing partnerships with leading companies in every industry..”  Partnering with Microsoft, Legal Computer Consultants can seamlessly migrate your workload to the Microsoft Cloud leaving you more time to concentrate on your core business – delivering legal services – and less time tending to your computer infrastructure.

See: Microsoft-earnings-q2-2019.

 

Microsoft has recently been updating current versions of Microsoft Office applications including Word, Outlook and PowerPoint to include the option of using dictation.

Microsoft Voice Dictation Video

  1. When you’re signed in to your Office 365 account, turn on your microphone and make sure it works (Microphone settings).
  2. Go to Home > Dictate.

    Showing Dictate UI  in Word
    (In Outlook, go to Message > Dictate.)

  3. Wait for the icon to turn red.
    Showing Dictate icon after selection
  4. Start talking. As you talk, text appears in your document or slide.
  5. Speak clearly and conversationally. Insert punctuation by saying the name of the punctuation mark you want to add.
  6. If you make a mistake while dictating, move your cursor to the mistake and fix it with your keyboard. No need to turn off the microphone.
  7. When finished, select Dictate again to stop typing.

Whether this means Dragon Dictate will soon be obsolete remains to be seen but as artificial intelligence (AI) improves Microsoft Office Voice Dictation, it will certainly be a formidable competitor offered at no additional charge.