All posts by Fabian Schneider

Microsoft Windows 11

Effective October 5, 2021, Microsoft Windows 11 is available and is already available in preview on Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD).

Windows 11 comes as a free upgrade to eligible Windows 10 PCs, and PCs that come pre-loaded with Windows 11 will start to become available for purchase.

New features include Microsoft Teams integration, widgets, a better virtual desktop support, better multitasking, a better gaming experience, a new Microsoft Store and a new, more Mac-like interface.

On the Azure Marketplace, three Windows 11 previews are available right now:

  • Windows 11 Enterprise (Preview)
  • Windows 11 Enterprise multi-session (Preview)
  • Windows 11 Enterprise multi-session + Microsoft 365 Apps (Preview)

For the announcement of Windows 11, please visit: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2021/08/31/windows-11-available-on-october-5/.

For information on the Windows 11 preview via AVD, please visit: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/azure-virtual-desktop/windows-11-preview-is-now-available-on-azure-virtual-desktop/ba-p/2666468.

For a short teaser video, please visit: https://youtu.be/E1kQVJBqolY.

Please contact us for more information and to request a quote.

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Plan 1 and 2

On August 31, 2021, Microsoft Defender for Endpoint was rebranded as Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Plan 2, with a foundational subset of functionality being made available as a Plan 1.

The new Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Plan 1 is now in public preview and will be generally available later in 2021. It may be licensed as a standalone license with eligible licensed users being able to use it on up to five concurrent devices, and the capabilities will also be added to Microsoft 365 E3/A3 licenses.

The Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Plan 1 offers the following core capabilities:

  • Industry leading antimalware that is cloud-based with built-in AI that helps to stop ransomware, known and unknown malware, and other threats in their tracks.
  • Attack surface reduction capabilities that harden the device, prevent zero days, and offer granular control over access and behaviors on the endpoint.
  • Device based conditional access that offers an additional layer of data protection and breach prevention and enables a Zero Trust approach.

For the announcement, please visit: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-defender-for-endpoint/introducing-microsoft-defender-for-endpoint-plan-1/ba-p/2636641.

Please contact us for more information and to request a quote.

Microsoft Intune per-device

Effective September 1, 2021, a new Microsoft Intune per-device for Enterprise offer is available, that helps Enterprise organizations manage devices that are assigned to an authenticated user (i.e., not used by multiple authenticated users).

Microsoft Intune is the most comprehensive unified endpoint management platform to manage and secure both physical and virtual endpoints in your organization.

This offer leverages Intune per device while adding Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). It is a fully functional out-of-the box experience and includes the following service plans:

  • Microsoft Exchange Foundation
  • Microsoft Intune
  • Microsoft Azure Active Directory for Education.

This offer is available through SCHNEIDER IT MANAGEMENT as your Cloud Solution Provider (CSP).

For more information, please visit: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/partner-center/announcements/2021-september#4.

Please contact us for more details and to request a quote.

Microsoft Workplace Analytics rebranded as Microsoft Viva Insights

Effective October 1, 2021, Microsoft Viva Insights replaces Microsoft Workplace Analytics (WPA).

Microsoft Viva Insights is part of Microsoft’s newly launched Employee Experience Platform (EXP) branded as Microsoft Viva, designed to help people connect, focus, learn, and thrive at work. Viva Insights is available via Volume License (VL) and Cloud Solution Provider (CSP).

Accessed in Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Viva Insights gives personalized and actionable insights that help everyone in an organization thrive. These insights are derived from data that is already available to you in your Exchange Online mailbox. For example, if you want to determine what commitments you made to others, you could manually review each email in your mailbox. The Insights app takes care of that instead.

For an overview on Microsoft Viva Insights and explanatory videos, please visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-viva/insights.

For more information on Microsoft Viva, please visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-viva.

For the announcement of Microsoft Viva, please visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2021/02/04/microsoft-viva-empowering-every-employee-for-the-new-digital-age/.

Please contact us for more information and to request a quote.

Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center user migration to Work or School Accounts

Starting September 3, 2021, Microsoft Volume License Service Center (VLSC) users will be prompted to create or use a Work or School Account (WSA) to sign in to the VLSC site.

To gain access to the VLSC site, VLSC users who are not yet using a WSA to sign in will be prompted to either create an account or use one provided by their organization. While they take action to migrate their accounts, users will have a limited number of attempts to sign in using their existing credentials—such as a Microsoft account (MSA), formerly known as a Live account, or unmanaged tenant accounts. After these attempts are exhausted, the only way to continue to access the site will be through a WSA.

A WSA typically takes the form of username@orgname.com or username@orgname.onmicrosoft.com (where orgname is the employer’s domain name). This format helps customers and Microsoft alike in confirming that a user’s assigned permissions are accurately and securely affiliated with the licensed organization.

The process of converting your VLSC user ID to a WSA is quick and easy. To help make this transition easier, here are three scenarios for this conversion:

  • Scenario 1: If you’re a first-time user of VLSC and don’t have a WSA, sign in as a “brand new user” or inherit permissions from an existing MSA.
  • Scenario 2: If you have previously signed in to VLSC using an MSA, you can sign in with this existing MSA up to five times before you must use or create a WSA for continued access to the tool.
  • Scenario 3: If you’re an existing Azure Active Directory (AAD) user, sign in with a WSA and follow the AAD sign-in experience. Internal admin takeover of the Azure Directory might be necessary in this scenario.

For more information and in-depth instructions on this, please refer to this resource document: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/enterprise-users/domains-admin-takeover.

If a user currently doesn’t have any purchased Online Services, it’s possible for them to sign up for a free WSA. In that case, please visit: https://signup.microsoft.com/Signup?offerid=8339cc50-d965-4ad5-bb94-749021a5ebf9&origin=azurequote&ali=1&Country=US&ru=https://admin.microsoft.com.

Please contact us for more information and for help on your WSA migration.

Microsoft Skype for Business Online retired

Effective August 2, 2021, Microsoft Skype for Business Online is retired and is being replaced by Microsoft Teams.

This retirement does not affect the Skype consumer service or Skype for Business Server products.

Organizations who haven’t made a full transition from Skype for Business Online will be scheduled for a Microsoft-assisted upgrade to help with the last-mile technical steps getting to “Teams Only”. Scheduling notifications are sent to tenant admins within the Microsoft 365 Message Center and Teams admin center 90 days before the date of the assisted upgrade. Even after scheduling, customers may self-upgrade prior to the assisted upgrade date to better control the timing of their upgrade experience.

Assisted upgrades begin in August 2021, with tenant-specific dates shared in the scheduling notifications mentioned above. Organizations scheduled for assisted upgrades after July 31, 2021 will be able to use Skype for Business Online until their upgrade is complete.

The assisted upgrade experience will differ slightly depending on the organization’s environment:

  • Skype for Business Online-only: The assisted upgrade process will apply the TeamsUpgradeOverridePolicy policy to the tenant. When this policy is applied, all Skype for Business Online users will be placed in Teams Only mode.
  • Skype for Business Online users in hybrid environment: The assisted upgrade will only switch Skype for Business Online users to Teams Only mode if they’re not already in that mode. Skype for Business Server users won’t be impacted by the assisted upgrade process and will remain on-premises.

The duration of the upgrade will vary by volume of users and the characteristics of the deployment. In most cases, users within a tenant will be upgraded within 24 hours of the start of the upgrade. During this time, users will still have access to Skype for Business Online. Once the upgrade has completed and users sign out of Skype for Business Online, they’ll start using Teams for messaging, meetings, and calling. Post-upgrade, all new online users will be added in Teams Only mode.

For the announcement and further specifics, please visit: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-teams-blog/the-skype-for-business-online-service-has-retired/ba-p/2596601.

For more information on the Microsoft-assisted upgrade, please visit: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/MicrosoftTeams/upgrade-assisted.

Please contact us for more information and to request a quote.

Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft 365 pricing changes and Audio Conferencing capabilities

Effective March 1, 2022, the following pricing changes for Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft 365 per user per month subscriptions will take place:

  • Microsoft Office 365 E1 (from $8 to $10)
  • Microsoft Office 365 E3 (from $20 to $23)
  • Microsoft Office 365 E5 (from $35 to $38)
  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic (from $5 to $6)
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium (from $20 to $22)
  • Microsoft 365 E3 (from $32 to $36)

These increases will apply globally with local market adjustments for certain regions. There are no changes to pricing for education and consumer products at this time.

Furthermore, over the next months, Microsoft will add unlimited dial-in capabilities for Microsoft Teams meetings for existing Office 365 and Microsoft 365 licenses. These capabilities are currently only included with Microsoft 365 E5 and Office 365 E5.

An Audio Conferencing license enables you to provide a dial-in phone number for Teams meeting attendees, and to dial-out during a meeting to invite other callers into that meeting.

Currently there are two promotions that entitle Enterprise Agreement (EA) and Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) customers to free Audio Conferencing licenses with both promotions: https://www.schneider.im/microsoft-teams-audio-conferencing-available-for-free/.

For the announcement, please visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2021/08/19/new-pricing-for-microsoft-365/.

For more information on Microsoft Teams Audio Conferencing, please visit: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/audio-conferencing-in-office-365.

Please contact us for more information and to request a quote.

Microsoft SharePoint and Project Server Subscription Edition

Effective July 20, 2021, the public preview of Microsoft SharePoint Server Subscription Edition, the next version of the on-premises SharePoint Server, is available.

Back in September 2020, Microsoft announced that the next versions of Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, Skype for Business Server, and Project Server would only be available with the purchase of a subscription license entitling organizations to support, product updates, and security patches.

Microsoft Project Server Subscription Edition is a part of the SharePoint Server Subscription Edition installation and thus also available for preview.

For a list of new features and updates to existing features, please visit: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/what-s-new/new-and-improved-features-in-sharepoint-server-subscription-edition.

For the download of Microsoft SharePoint Server Subscription Edition Public Preview, please visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=103322.

For the announcement, please visit: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-sharepoint-blog/a-new-day-for-sharepoint-server/ba-p/2556404.

For the announcement from September 2020, please visit: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/exchange-team-blog/exchange-news-and-announcements-microsoft-ignite-2020-edition/ba-p/1662224.

Please contact us for more information and to request a quote.

Adobe Prelude discontinued

Effective September 8, 2021, Adobe Prelude will be discontinued.

In 2012, Prelude was launched as a dedicated video pre-production tool to prepare media for editorial in Adobe Premiere Pro. Going forward, Adobe focuses their development on streamlining pre-production workflows in Premiere Pro.

Existing Prelude users may continue to use Prelude and Adobe will continue to offer technical support to all active Prelude customers until September 8, 2024.

For more information, please visit: https://www.adobe.com/products/prelude.html.

Please contact us for more information and to request quotes for Adobe products.

Microsoft Windows Server 2022 Standard and Datacenter Long-Term Servicing Channel

Effective October 1, 2021, Microsoft Windows Server Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) for both Windows Server 2022 Standard and Windows Server 2022 Datacenter is available for Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) and Volume License (VL) customers.

Starting with Windows Server 2022 there is one primary release channel available, the Long-Term Servicing Channel.

The Semi-Annual Channel in previous versions of Windows Server focused on containers and microservices, and that innovation will continue with Azure Stack HCI. With the Long-Term Servicing Channel, a new major version of Windows Server is released every 2-3 years. Users are entitled to 5 years of mainstream support and 5 years of extended support. The Long-Term Servicing Channel will continue to receive security and non-security updates, but it will not receive the new features and functionality.

For more information and a table of current versions of Windows Server by servicing option, please visit: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/windows-server-release-info.

For more information on Azure Stack HCI, please visit: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure-stack/hci/.

Please contact us for more information and to request a quote.