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Skype for Business integrates with other Office 365 Apps

Skype for Business is tightly integrated with the other O365 features – Outlook, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business. So, when a user signs into Skype for Business, it reflects in all these applications for the user as well as for everybody else in the Enterprise who have already signed into Skype for Business. This seamless integration helps one to connect with others from any of the O365 application.

Here are a few scenarios

  • My colleague has sent me a reply to my mail. He has sent me some inputs I had requested on a certain project that we had been working together. I need some clarifications on his inputs. I intend to send him another mail asking for clarification now. His inputs will be useful to me only after he sends me these clarifications. I am in a hurry but I don’t know for sure if he would understand my urgency and reply to mail immediately! I am opening a reply mail window. Luckily, I see this colleague is available on line - his presence indicator is in green. Can I connect with him right away? I click on the email address and start Skype for Business session with him. Thankfully, the Skype for Business window that opened also bears the subject line of the mail on top, indicating that the session is about this topic. And his inputs will be recorded for me automatically in the Conversation History folder in my Outlook for subsequent reference. In a few minutes he can clarify to me everything I need. I can get going with my report right away. Truly, Skype for Business saves me a lot of waiting time.
  • I have posted a file in our team site’s Document library in SharePoint. I am in the library now. I see that one of my team members is on line with whom I need to connect regarding some points in the file. I see that she is online and available as I click on the Shared with option in the ellipsis (…). I start an IM session with her from this SharePoint library.
  • I shared a document with my Manager from my OneDrive for Business. I need to give some additional inputs to him regarding the content of the document. When I click on the Shared with option, I see that his name shows up with the indication that he is online and available. I don’t have to send a mail. I can connect with him now and give him my inputs. I am improving on my productivity and helping my Manager too.

Will you get the Windows 10 free upgrade?

Microsoft is making Windows 10 available as free upgrade for qualified Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 devices. It will be available starting July 29, 2015; people can reserve their free upgrade today.

You only have until July 29, 2016 to take advantage of this offer. Once you upgrade, you have Windows 10 for free on that device.

It’s free. This is a full version of Windows, not a trial or introductory version. It is available for a limited time:  you have one year from the time Windows 10 is available to take advantage of this offer.

To get your free upgrade, you can do one of two things:

a) Buy a new Windows 8.1 device and upgrade it to Windows 10 for free, or

b) Reserve a free upgrade for your existing Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PC

Not every device will run every feature of Windows 10. Be sure to check with your manufacturer before purchasing.

When you reserve, you can confirm your device is compatible with Windows 10. Between reservation and when your upgrade is ready, the files you need for the upgrade will be downloaded to your PC to make the final installation go more quickly. Then, when your upgrade is ready after July 29, 2015, you get a notification that lets you get started with your upgrade.

The only requirements are that a) your device is compatible, and b) you’re running genuine Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) or Windows 8.1 (Update).

Windows 10 is designed to run on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs. That means your device is likely compatible and will run Windows 10.

New qualified PCs can run Windows 10. Windows 10 is designed to be compatible with the Windows 8.1 laptop, tablet or desktop PCs that are for sale now. Device manufacturers make decisions about their device models and some Windows 10 features may not be available on certain devices, so be sure to check with the retailer or manufacturer for details.

Plan for about an hour for the installation. Newer devices may only take 20 minutes, and older devices may take more than an hour.

You’ll need to download the installation files before you begin. If you reserve, we’ll take care of downloading those files for you and let you know when you are ready to get started.

Just open the Get Windows 10 app (description below) and click reserve.

Click on the small Windows icon located at the lower right side of the taskbar.

Click ‘Reserve your free upgrade’ when prompted.

There’s no obligation and you can cancel your reservation at any time. After you reserve, we will download Windows 10 to your device when it’s available. Then we will notify you when your device is ready to install the upgrade.

Get Windows 10 is an app that’s designed to make the upgrade process easy. It checks to make sure your device is compatible, and it reserves your free upgrade; it also has information to help you learn about the features in Windows 10.

For devices running Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update with Windows Update enabled, the app shows up automatically as a Windows icon in your system tray at the bottom right-hand side of your screen.

Just click reserve in the Get Windows 10 app and then enter your email address at the confirmation screen.

You can also check your reservation status here:

Right click on the Get Windows 10 app or Windows icon located at the right end of the taskbar.

Select “Check your upgrade status”

You can cancel your reservation at any time prior to installing Windows 10. Here’s how:

Right click on the Get Windows 10 app or Windows icon located in right end of the taskbar.

Select “Check your upgrade status”

Click the menu in the upper left corner, then select “View Confirmation.”

In the lower left, select “Cancel reservation.”

The easiest way to get the free upgrade is to reserve, but you can upgrade even if you don’t reserve.

Once Windows 10 is available, we’ll begin notifying devices that their free upgrade is available. Just open the Get Windows 10 app to schedule your upgrade. Note: Some notifications will go out as soon as Windows 10 is available; others may go out in the weeks or months following.

Protect your PC from viruses

There are many preventive steps you can take to help protect your PC from viruses and other threats.

  • Use an antimalware app. Installing an antimalware app and keeping it up to date can help defend your PC against viruses and other malware (malicious software). Antimalware apps scan for viruses, spyware, and other malware trying to get into your email, operating system, or files. New threats can appear daily, so check the antimalware manufacturer's website frequently for updates.

    Windows Defender is free antimalware software included with Windows, and you can update it automatically through Windows Update.

  • Don't open email messages from unfamiliar senders, or email attachments that you don't recognize. Many viruses are attached to email messages and will spread as soon as you open the attachment. It's best not to open any attachment unless it's something you're expecting.

  • Use a pop-up blocker with your Internet browser. Pop-up windows are small browser windows that appear on top of the website you're viewing. Although most are created by advertisers, they can also contain malicious or unsafe code. A pop-up blocker can prevent some or all of these windows from appearing.

    Pop-up Blocker in Windows Internet Explorer is turned on by default.

  • If you're using Internet Explorer, make sure SmartScreen Filter is turned on. SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer helps protect you from phishing and malware attacks by warning you if a website or download location has been reported as unsafe.

  • Pay attention to Windows SmartScreen notifications. Be cautious about running unrecognized apps downloaded from the Internet. Unrecognized apps are more likely to be unsafe. When you download and run an app from the Internet, SmartScreen uses info about the app's reputation to warn you if the app isn't well-known and might be malicious.

  • Keep Windows updated. Periodically, Microsoft releases special security updates that can help protect your PC. These updates can help prevent viruses and other malware attacks by closing possible security holes.

    You can turn on Windows Update to make sure that Windows receives these updates automatically.

  • Use a firewall. Windows Firewall or any other firewall app can help notify you about suspicious activity if a virus or worm tries to connect to your PC. It can also block viruses, worms, and hackers from trying to download potentially harmful apps to your PC.

  • Use your Internet browser's privacy settings. Some websites might try to use your personal info for targeted advertising, fraud, and identity theft.

    If you're using Internet Explorer, you can adjust your privacy settings or restore the default settings whenever you want.

  • Make sure User Account Control (UAC) is turned on. When changes are going to be made to your PC that require administrator-level permission, UAC notifies you and gives you the chance to approve the change. UAC can help keep viruses from making unwanted changes. To open UAC, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.) Enter UAC in the search box, and then tap or click Change User Account Control settings.

  • Clear your Internet cache and your browsing history. Most browsers store info about the websites you visit and the info that you provide, like your name and address. While it can be helpful to have these details stored on your PC, there are times when you might want to delete some or all of them—for example, when you're using a public PC and don't want to leave personal info behind.

    -Microsoft Help pages

Increased spending on new IT

A Microsoft Asia Pacific survey of 291 IT decision makers of medium to large enterprises across 10 markets in Asia Pacific showed that IT leaders in the region are leading the charge to harness disruptive technologies enabling their transformation to a mobile-first and cloud-first world. More than half of CIOs (53%) polled allocated 11% to 30% of their budget towards using new technologies and another 27% of respondents allocated more than 30%.

In addition, majority of respondents no longer see the cloud as being new and disruptive. In fact, 71% expect to increase use of the cloud in the next three years, making it a necessary part of their IT strategy.

The survey also saw 62% of respondents highlighting the likelihood of increased IT spending on new technologies next year, indicating that IT leaders in the region are indeed pushing the envelope with new technologies to drive business transformation.

 “Technology is changing every aspect of our lives and it impacts the way businesses are interacting with their customers. Organizations today have to change how they operate to serve their customers at a whole new level. CIOs today have a critical role to play in this transformation,” said Alvaro Celis, Vice President, Microsoft Asia Pacific.

Prioritizing IT Needs in Asia Pacific

 The CIOs in Asia are grappling with new demands from customers, employees and business stakeholders. Microsoft asked them how they were prioritizing in the following areas as part of their transformation. Interestingly, respondents placed equal importance on:

•Enhancing customer experiences;

•Transforming into a digital business; and

•Becoming a more responsive organization

Current IT priorities include managing a myriad of new devices, applications and services hosted on the cloud. The Microsoft survey showed that device management is the number one issue which IT leaders are addressing currently. 92% of respondents polled said that they have either implemented or are planning to implement device and management initiatives within their organization as a way to manage the growing number of laptops, tablets and smartphones which access company resources. The number two and three current initiatives are: putting in place a hybrid IT infrastructure (90%) and collaboration projects (86%).

CIOs today know that they have a unique opportunity with disruptive technologies. According to the survey, respondents ranked mobility (52%), IoT (44%), big data (41%) and social (38%) as the top four technology disruptors to the organization.

However, in the next three years, CIOs in Asia are prioritising the Cloud (71%), mobility (65%) and big data (61%) as the most important technologies for them to harness to drive their business goals.

Barriers to New Technology Adoption

 While CIOs are planning to play a big role in business transformation, they do face challenges in being able to execute on their bold vision with new and disruptive technologies. The top 3 challenges are:

•Budget – 81% ranked lacked of budget as a barrier to adopting new technologies.

•Trust – 79% said that security, privacy, compliance and transparency of cloud-related solutions continue to be a concern

•Influence – 72% of CIOs felt that they are having to deal with more stakeholders with budget and decision making power, slowing down decision making

Jeff Bullwinkel, Associate General Counsel and Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs for Microsoft Asia Pacific & Japan, said: “Microsoft sees security, privacy, compliance and transparency as essential elements in building trust between a technology provider and its customers. Microsoft has continued to invest in building its trust with customers by further strengthening encryption to protect customer data, continuously designing and maintaining services that meet government and industry compliance standards, and increasing protection against government snooping.”

Influence and the Changing role of CIOs

 IT investment decisions no longer sit within the IT department. Of the key business stakeholders who are more influential today than three years ago, respondents polled said that the CEO is the most influential stakeholder in driving new technology trends (60%) in Asia Pacific, followed by the CFO (57%), the COO (55%) and CMO (38%).

When asked how they wish their roles to be perceived within the organization, it is clear that CIOs and IT leaders in Asia Pacific want to be viewed as innovators (69%) and growth enablers (62%). Respondents also hoped to be perceived as playing a key role in empowering the productivity of the next-generation of workers (64%).

Asia Pacific CIOs believe they are where they want to be, with more than two thirds of respondents saying that they are already viewed as key drivers of business innovation and growth and as enablers of new work styles by internal stakeholders.

Added Celis: “It is fascinating to see how cloud is everywhere today, and where mobility, IoT, social and big data are important technology disruptors for years to come. CIOs are indeed moving beyond keeping the lights on in IT to driving growth and business innovation. For Microsoft, it is an honour to be working with customers and partners to reimagine how business is done in the digital era.”

-Microsoft Asia Pacific News Center