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Delve Analytics for the Productivity Pros

Microsoft has announced an update to the Office 365 people profile experience under Delve, which consolidates the profile and activity pages to make it easier for users to discover relevant content, connect with colleagues and find experts inside an organization.

Learn more about your colleagues

The new profile page gives users a place to learn more about their colleagues, providing their contact information, a photo, who they work for and a summary of their experience and expertise, as well as discover their recent activity and a quick glimpse of what they are working on. The profile is actionable, too. Users can start a Skype chat, call or email to a colleague right from their profile page. Remember, Delve only shows content that the user already has permission to see.

The whole experience is responsive and looks great on any device.


Customize User profile and quickly find documents

Users can give their Delve profile a personal touch—upload a favorite profile photo, choose a unique background or edit your expertise. Up-to-date profiles make it easier for others to find out about the user and help the user when the user is looking for information. From the user’s profile, users can also quickly and easily get back to their documents, as well as see documents their most frequent contacts are working on.

Updated people profile experiences coming soon to Office 365 2 - crop

Delve is more useful and intuitive than ever thanks to the new profile page. By connecting the users with the content and the contacts who are relevant to them, Delve helps break down silos and keeps the user in the know.

The new profile experience has been rolled out to First Release Office 365 tenants over the past several weeks, and Microsoft expects it to roll out to all eligible Office 365 customers by the second quarter of 2016.

Delve is included in the Office 365 Enterprise E1–E5 subscription plans (including the corresponding A2–A4 and G1–G4 plans for Academic and Government customers, respectively). Delve is also included in the Office 365 Business Essentials and Business Premium plans.

Delve never changes any permissions and only shows the users content that they already have permission to view. Only they can see their private documents in Delve, and other people can’t see their private activities—such as what documents they’ve read, what emails they’ve sent and received or which Skype for Business conversations they have participated in. Other people can see that they’ve modified a document, but only if they have access to the same document.

Microsoft Password Guidance

Microsoft has come up with recommendations for password management based on current research and lessons from their own experience as one of the largest Identity Providers (IdPs) in the world. It covers recommendations for end users and identity administrators.

Microsoft sees over 10 million username/password pair attacks every day. This gives Microsoft a unique vantage point to understand the role of passwords in account takeover. The guidance provided here is scoped to users of Microsoft’s identity platforms (Azure Active Directory, Active Directory, and Microsoft account) though it generalizes to other platforms.


Summary of Recommendations

Advice to IT Administrators

Azure Active Directory and Active Directory allow Enterprises to support these recommendations:

1. Maintain an 8-character minimum length requirement (and longer is not necessarily better).

2. Eliminate character-composition requirements.

3. Eliminate mandatory periodic password resets for user accounts.

4. Ban common passwords, to keep the most vulnerable passwords out of your system.

5. Educate your users not to re-use their password for non-work-related purposes.

6. Enforce registration for multi-factor authentication.

7. Enable risk based multi-factor authentication challenges.


Advice to Users

Create a unique password for your Microsoft account

The security of your Microsoft account is important for several reasons. Personal, sensitive information may be associated to the user account such as their emails, contacts, and photos. In addition, other services may rely on their email address to verify their identity. If someone gains access to their email, they may be able to take over the user's other accounts too (like banking and online shopping) by resetting their passwords by email.


User Tips for creating a strong and unique password:

  • Don’t use a password that is the same or similar to one you use on any other website. A cybercriminal who can break into that website can steal your password from it and use it to steal your Microsoft account.
  • Don’t use a single word (e.g. “princess”) or a commonly-used phrase (e.g. “Iloveyou”).
  • Do make your password hard to guess even by those who know a lot about you (such as the names and birthdays of your friends and family, your favorite bands, and phrases you like to use).
Keep the security info up to date

Current security info (like an alternate email address or phone number) helps us to verify the user's identity if they forget their password or if someone else tries to take over their account. Microsoft never uses this info to spam the user or to try to sell them something.

Watch for suspicious activity

The Recent activity page helps the user to track unusual or suspicious activity. The user can see their latest sign-ins and changes to their account. If they see something wrong or unfamiliar, they can click "This wasn’t me" and Microsoft will take the user through a few steps to change their password and review the security info on their account.

Turn on two-step verification

Two-step verification boosts account security by making it more difficult for hackers to sign in—even if they know or guess the user's password.

If the user turns on two-step verification and then try to sign in on a device Microsoft doesn’t recognize, Microsoft will ask the user for two things:

  1. The user's password.
  2. An extra security code.

Microsoft can send a new security code to the user's phone or their alternate email address, or they can get one through an authenticator app on their smartphone.

Keep the operating system, browser, and other software up to date

Most service and app providers release security updates that can help protect users' devices. These updates help prevent viruses and other malware attacks by closing possible security holes.

If the user is using Windows, in order to receive these updates automatically, he / she has turn on Windows Update.

Be careful of suspicious emails and websites

The users are advised not to open email messages from unfamiliar senders or email attachments that they don't recognize. Viruses can be attached to email messages and might spread as soon as they open the attachment. It's best not to open an attachment unless they expected to receive it. They should also be careful when downloading apps or other files from the Internet, and make sure they recognize the source.

Install an antivirus program on your computer

Hackers can steal passwords through malware (malicious software) that's been installed on users' computer without their knowledge. For example, sometimes malware is maliciously downloaded with something they do want, like a new screen saver. The user has to take the time to check and clear their computer of viruses or malware before they change their password.

Is your computer running Windows?

Great! Windows Defender is free anti-malware software built-in to Windows 8 and Windows 10. It updates automatically through Windows Update. If the user is running an earlier version of Windows, they can download and install Microsoft Security Essentials for free.

After the user installs an antivirus program, they should set it to regularly get updates and scan their computer.

Gleaned from a paper from - Microsoft Identity Protection Team

Microsoft Cloud App Security

More and more cloud-based apps are being used by businesses, such as Dropbox, Box and Microsoft-created services like OneDrive and Office 365. Now Microsoft has launched Microsoft Cloud App Security, a service designed specifically to help protect companies and their employees who use cloud-based apps.

Microsoft says that, according to its surveys, each employee in a company uses 17 cloud apps and workers in 91% of organizations grant access to their personal accounts to their company's cloud storage services. Microsoft Cloud App Security provides those organizations the following features to protect their employees and the company as a whole:

  • App Discovery: Cloud App Security identifies all cloud applications in an enterprise’s network—from all devices—and provides risk scoring and ongoing risk assessment and analytics

  • Data Control: With special focus on sanctioned apps, enterprises can set granular controls and policies for data sharing and loss prevention (DLP) leveraging API-based integration. They can use either out-of-the box policies or build and customize their own

  • Threat Protection: Cloud App Security provides threat protection for the Enterprise’s cloud applications leveraging user behavioral analytics and anomaly detection

Real-time collaboration in Office 2016

Before you can collaborate in real-time with other people you need to save and share your document using OneDrive and Office 2016 makes it easy -- just follow the steps below:

1- Open to edit or create a document in Word, Excel, or using any of the other apps.

2- On the top-right corner of the app, click the new Share button. (Assuming, you're sign-in with your Microsoft account you'll see the following pane.)

3- Click Save to cloud, you'll then be redirected to the "Save As" section, pick you OneDrive account and the location to store the file.

Once you have shared the document through OneDrive, people with the editing permission can simply open the file with the desktop version of Office 2016 or Office Online and start collaborating automatically -- just like that.

If you're the person who has created and shared the document, you'll also get a notification alerting you that other people are editing the document. You'll be prompted whether you would like to share automatically changes as they happen. If this is something you like, simply click Yes on the alert.


Yes, it's amazing that you can collaborate in real-time with other people from the desktop and web version of the apps. However, this doesn't mean you can just jump to any line and edit whatever you want.


When you're collaborating in real-time, you can only work and edit your content or any other content the other person isn't already editing. For example, if you're working on a paragraph, you can keep editing that content. But you can't edit another paragraph that is being edited by someone else until that person jumps to another new paragraph.

If there is something you need to communicate with the other person, go to the Share tab. This action will list all the people that are currently editing the file. Then hover over the person you want to contact and you'll see the choice to IM, voice, video chat, or send an email.


Note: Keep in mind that you'll need to have Skype installed and setup before you can start a conversation.

Email Safety Tips in Office 365

Today’s spam and malware attacks are sometimes so well-crafted they may look legitimate to users, and putting messages into the Junk Email folder isn’t enough. Microsoft has been rolling out Safety Tips in Exchange Online Protection, an additional layer of protection for all users that provides a warning to the user in an email that is marked suspicious, or a reassurance when a message is safe.

When a message includes a safety tip, the tip will be displayed in a messaging bar at the top of the email in one of four color-coded categories indicating that the message is either Suspicious, Unknown, Trusted or Safe.

  • Messages marked Suspicious have a red safety tip and are either a known phishing message, have failed sender authentication, are a suspected spoofing message or have met some other criteria that Exchange Online Protection has used to determine the message is fraudulent. You should not interact with suspicious messages and instead should delete them.


  • A yellow bar at the top of the message indicates an Unknown safety level. Being marked as Unknown indicates that Exchange Online Protection has marked the message as spam. You can click the It’s not spam link in the yellow bar of a junk mail item to move the message to your inbox.


  • Messages from a Trusted sender display a green bar at the top of the message. These are from domains identified by Microsoft as being safe.


  • Messages marked with a gray safety tip indicates that the email was not filtered for spam because it is either considered Safe by the user’s organization, is on the user’s safe senders list or Exchange Online Protection marked the message as junk but the user moved it out of the junk folder to the inbox. The gray safety bar also appears when images within the message have been disabled.


All four types of Safety Tips are included in the Outlook on the web experience, whereas Outlook clients, whether desktop or mobile, will display only the Suspicious safety tip. Most messages in your inbox will not have a safety tip; we only add them when we have information users need.

How does Microsoft determine which Safety Tip to apply?

As an industry-leading solution for securing your email, Exchange Online Protection analyzes data patterns across millions of emails to identify spam, malware and phishing threats. Based on this ongoing analysis, Exchange Online Protection is able to identify suspicious messages and apply the appropriate Safety Tip.

Users can also report misclassified messages back to Microsoft for analysis. They will take these samples and use them to make user experience better.

Safety Tips are an important tool in combating phishing scams and online fraud. With this new functionality, Office 365 automatically provides an additional layer of protection for all its users. Microsoft will continue to enrich the Safety Tips feature to ensure their users have the best experience.

- Gleaned from Office Blogs

MAXImise productivity & MINImise confusion - Use MAXIFS and MINIFS

If you’re familiar with statistical functions like COUNTIFS, SUMIFS and AVERAGEIFS, then MAXIFS and MINIFS don’t need much explanation.

The classic MAX and MIN functions calculate the maximum or minimum value in a range, but what if you need to apply conditions to filter your data? This is precisely what MAXIFS and MINIFS allow.

Now you can apply conditions and filter data before calculating with MAXIFS and MINIFS in Excel.

The MAXIFS and MINIFS functions are available if you are an Office 365 subscriber and have the latest version of Office installed on your PC. It is also available in Excel Online and in Excel Mobile or Excel for Android phones and tablets.


You can specify one or more conditions that filter the data before calculating the max or min. The conditions can be applied to adjacent ranges or the range that contains the values. For example, let’s say a retailer has a table containing sales data for all their stores. They can use the MAXIFS and MINIFS functions to calculate the maximum and minimum sales figure for a specified item in stores located in a specified region.


The MAXIFS function returns the maximum value among cells specified by a given set of conditions or criteria.


Here is the Syntax:


MAXIFS(max_range, criteria_range1, criteria1, [criteria_range2, criteria2], ...)


The MINIFS function returns the minimum value among cells specified by a given set of conditions or criteria.


Here is the Syntax:


MINIFS(min_range, criteria_range1, criteria1, [criteria_range2, criteria2], ...)


The size and shape of the max_range and criteria_range arguments must be the same, otherwise these functions return the #VALUE! error.


In the example shown below, MINIFS and MAXIFS are used to calculate the min and max sales figures from the table, but it only includes values from the Sales column if the value in the Retailer column is “BigMart,” the value in the Brand column is “Longlast” and the value in the Sales column is greater than zero.



Bewildered with nested IFs? Try the new IFS

The logical function IFS is available if you are an Office 365 subscriber and have the latest version of Office installed on your PC or you are using Excel Online. It is also available in Excel Mobile and in Excel for Android phones and tablets.


The IF function is one of the most commonly used logical functions in Excel, and using IF inside IF (nested IF functions) has been a common practice in Excel, but it can be challenging or confusing at times.


Here is an example of cluttered/ nested Ifs:



The new IFS function help specify a series of conditions. IFS gives you an alternative to using a series of nested IF functions, when you have more than one condition that you want to test to find a corresponding result. The IFS function checks whether one or more conditions are met and returns a value that corresponds to the first TRUE condition.


The advantage of using the new IFS functions is that you can specify a series of conditions in a single function. Each condition is followed by the result that will be used if the condition is true—making it very straightforward to create and read the formula afterward.


Here is the syntax:


IFS(logical_test1, value_if_true1, [logical_test2, value_if_true2], [logical_test3, value_if_true3],…)


Because Excel functions are limited to 254 parameters, you can use up to 127 pairs of condition and result arguments in this IFS function.


For example, let’s say you want to get the grade letter for a given score on a test. Using the IFS function, it might be something like this:


=IFS(C1>=90, “A”, C1>=80, “B”, C1>= 70, “C”, C1>=60, “D”, C1<60, “Fail”)



This can be read as, if the grade in C1 is greater than or equal to 90, it’s an A. Otherwise, if it’s greater than or equal to 80, it’s a B. Otherwise, if it’s greater than or equal to 70, it’s a C and so on. It’s pretty easy to write it this way and it’s also straightforward to read and understand what’s going on.



The SWITCH function is also a powerful logical function and can handle multiple conditions. What makes it different is that rather than specifying a series of conditional statements, you specify an expression and a series of values and results. The values are compared to the expression, and when the first exact match is found, the corresponding result is applied to the cell. You can also specify a “default” result that will be returned if none of the values are an exact match for the expression. The advantage of the SWITCH function is that you can avoid repeating the expression over and over, which sometimes happens in nested IF formulas.


In the example below, the first part of the formula extracts the size code (i.e. XS, M and G) from the middle of the item in column B. It’s rather long, so it’s nice that SWITCH only needs it to be written once and it can be compared to a list of values.


The example below can be explained as:

 Extract the size code from the item in column B. If it equals “XS”, the result is “Extra Small.” Otherwise, if it equals “S”, the result is “Small” and so on. If there’s no match, the result is “Not Specified.”



Again, because Excel functions are limited to 254 arguments, you can use up to 126 pairs of value and result arguments in this SWITCH function.

Forget CONCATENATE and the Clutter

Combining text strings has become easier using TEXTJOIN in Excel 2016 of Office 365 ProPlus and is available for subscribers right-away. (You must have the latest version of Office installed in your PC). This is also available for users using Excel Online, Excel Mobile and Excel for Android phones and tablets.


A very common task for users in spreadsheets is to combine text strings, but until now, if you wanted to join text strings from a range of cells, you had to specify each cell individually. The new TEXTJOIN functions let you combine text strings from ranges of cells with or without using a delimiter, such as a comma separating each item. You can simply refer to the range and specify the delimiter once and let Excel do all the heavy lifting. If the delimiter is an empty text string, this function will effectively concatenate the ranges.


The old-fashioned way:

 =CONCATENATE(A3, “, “, B3, “, “, C3,”, “, D3, “, “, E3)


The new way to join text strings using TEXTJOIN:

 =TEXTJOIN(“, “, TRUE, A3:E3)


TEXTJOIN has three arguments – (1) the delimiter to be used, (2) whether to ignore empty cells and (3) the range in which the text strings are located.


So, you simply specify the comma (or whatever separator you want), choose whether to ignore empty cells (True) or include empty cells (False) and then specify the range. If a number is supplied, it will be treated as text.


For example, =TEXTJOIN(" ",TRUE, "The", "sun", "will", "come", "up", "tomorrow.") will return The sun will come up tomorrow.


There can be a maximum of 252 text arguments for the text items, including the first text. Each can be a text string, or array of strings, such as a range of cells. If the resulting string exceeds 32767 characters (cell limit), TEXTJOIN returns the #VALUE! error.


Here is another example:


Let’s say you just want to join the parts of an address into a single text string. The old way would require you to specify each cell and repeat a comma that separates each part: