Microsoft 365 Security & Compliance additions


Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

It seems Microsoft will be adding some new security and compliance SKUS in February 2021. According to a post from Bytes, a top UK Microsoft partner and LSP, we will soon be able to purchase:

Premium Compliance Assessments

There will be a range of over 150 assessments available which can be added to any Office 365 E5 or Microsoft 365 E5 plan, at a cost of $2,500 per assessments per month.

10-year audit log retention to Advanced Audit

This will enable organisations to retain audit logs for up to 10 years and can be added to:

  • Microsoft 365 E5
  • Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance
  • Microsoft 365 E5 eDiscovery & Audit
  • Office 365 E5

for $2 per user per month.

Data Connectors to E5

This looks like it will extend Microsoft 365 security and compliance capabilities to 3rd party services such as Slack and Zoom. It can be added to any Office 365 E5 or Microsoft 365 E5 plan and will cost $400 per 500GB of data.

Conclusion

The Data Connectors are, I think, the most interesting. Back in November 2019, Microsoft launched a preview of Azure Arc, which enables organisations to run Azure technologies and policies across other clouds such as Amazon AWS, and this new addition is the same thought process. The first time we saw this was when Satya Nadella opened up Office across Apple and Android – making Office available on those devices enables Microsoft to sell more Office 365 AND reach new customers…customers who may eventually purchase other Microsoft services.

While Microsoft would love everyone in every organisation to use Microsoft Teams, they’re pragmatic enough to realise that will never happen – their competitors’ products will always exist…so why not make some money out of it? 500GB of data isn’t much so that $400 a month will quickly start to become a pretty big number of organisations! It also helps Microsoft retain relationships with these organisations, ensuring they stay updated on respective changes and have reasons to talk – giving the chance for future sales…

I’ll keep an eye for more information and, hopefully, an entry in the February 2021 Product Terms.

Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare


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Microsoft have introduced their first vertical specific cloud offering – Cloud for Healthcare. Currently in public preview, the stated aims of this are to:

  • Enhance patient engagement
  • Empower health team collaboration
  • Improve insights

and, considering the current Coronavirus situation, focusing first on healthcare makes sense. They highlight that over 1,600 “COVID-19 bots” have gone live since March across 23 countries and we’ve already seen a huge rise in Azure usage during the last couple of months. The offering will span Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and more.

What’s next?

I look forward to seeing which other verticals are next to receive their own cloud and also, over the long term, if we start to see features and licensing differences between them. As cloud goes from being presented as one monolithic thing that everyone uses to separate, discrete offerings tailored to different industries, it will be much easier to introduce commercial differences. I imagine we’ll see some more about these at Microsoft Inspire in July.

Microsoft Product Terms, April 2020


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This month’s Product Terms has got a few cool additions – one in particular!

Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection for Servers

This was previously only available via an Azure Security Center subscription but can now be obtained via EA/EAS and CSP. It covers Windows Server 2008 R2/2012R2/2016/2019.

In order to purchase MDATP for Servers, organisations must have a combined minimum of 50 licenses of:

  • Microsoft Defender ATP
  • Windows E5/A5
  • Microsoft 365 E5/A5
  • Microsoft 365 E5 Security

Interestingly, if ATP for Servers customers decide to migrate to using Azure Security Center (ASC) on those same servers, active ATP for Server licenses will be credited against the ASC price.

New Microsoft 365 SKUs

April 2020 sees the introduction of:

  • E5 eDiscovery & Audit
  • E5 Information Protection & Governance
  • E5 Insider Risk management

Prerequisites

For eDiscovery & Audit and Insider Risk Management, the license prerequisites are:

  • Microsoft 365 (any)
  • Office 365 (any)
  • Exchange Online
  • SharePoint Online
  • OneDrive for Business

For Information Protection & Governance, the prerequisite licenses are:

  • Microsoft 365 (any)
  • Office 365 (any)
  • Exchange Online
  • SharePoint Online
  • OneDrive for Business
  • Azure Information Protection
  • EMS E3/A3

Office / Microsoft 365 F1 & F3

Microsoft have renamed the old F1 licenses to F3, and introduced a new F1 SKU to sit underneath, with limited capabilities as it only includes EMS E3 and “limited” Office services. The F1 license is pretty much just Teams really – no email, no Onedrive etc.

Microsoft licensing for Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

I’ve saved the best ’til last here – in my opinion at least! RPA is a growing area of business – the idea of using bots, rather than humans, to perform repetitive tasks to increase efficiency and, when used properly, job satisfaction. However, it’s also a licensing minefield – and Microsoft have been very quiet on this subject…until now! Well, actually, they’re still being quiet because these new additions were just slipped into the April Product Terms without any other mention – it strikes me as odd because these new licenses could herald a pretty significant change.

What have they added?

The Product Terms now contains:

  • Microsoft 365 E3/A3 – Unattended license
  • Power Automate per user with attended RPA plan
  • Power Automate unattended RPA add-on

There’s not a huge amount of extra info in the Product Terms but it does say that the E3/A3 unattended license includes Office 365 E3/A3, Windows 10 E3/A3, and EMS E3/A3 – no mention of them being restricted or limited at all.

Some definitions

The OST (Online Service Terms) gives more information. Microsoft’s definition of RPA is:

“An application (or set of applications) used to capture data and manipulate applications to perform repetitive tasks. Bots operate upon any UI element of Windows 10 within an OSE and/or operates upon any Office application in any OSE.”

Attended bot = This is a bot that “assists a person to execute automation on the person’s local and/or remote workstations.” They go on to say that “it operates concurrently with the person on the same workstation/s to accomplish repetitive tasks and is triggered by explicit actions of that person“.

In this scenario, it sounds like you would assign a regular M365 license to both the user and the bot?

Unattended bot = “Any bot that doesn’t strictly conform to the definition of an attended bot“.

The Power Automate unattended RPA add-on can be added onto the Power Automate per user with attended RPA plan and Power Automate per flow plan.

Microsoft Product Terms: October 2017


Microsoft have introduced a number of changes in the October 2017 Product Terms document – let’s take a look.

SQL Server 2017

Linux

SQL Server 2017 has been released, and the big thing is its support for Linux.

Microsoft point out page 29 of the Product Terms that “SQL Server Licenses are platform agnostic” and can be used on “Windows or Linux platforms”.

Machine Learning Server

The Product Terms also states that only customers with SQL Server Enterprise + SA may use updates to “Machine Learning Server for Windows or Linux” that are released after October 2017.

Additionally, for each SQL Server Enterprise core license with active SA, customers may run “Machine Learning Server for Hadoop” on up to 5 (five) servers.

What is “Machine Learning Server” you ask? Good question! It was “Microsoft R Server” and now, with the 9.2 release, it becomes “Machine Learning Server”.

For more info – head to this Microsoft blog.

R Server

The various flavours of “R Server” are being retired and so there are transition plans in place for those organisations with Software Assurance.

R Server for Hadoop

For each 1 (one) R Server for Hadoop license with active SA, you may renew SA for 2 (two) x SQL Server Enterprise Core Licenses.

R Server for Linux

For each 2 (two) R Server for Linux licenses with active SA, you may renew SA for 2 (two) x SQL Server Enterprise Core Licenses.

R Server for Teradata DB

For each 1 (one) R Server for Teradata license, you may renew SA for 6 (six) x SQL Server Enterprise Core Licenses.

SQL Server for Linux Promotion

On page 95, we see there is a promo running from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018 where:

“Microsoft will offer a Linux-specific subscription license for SQL Server 2017”

and, unlike the regular license this promo offering will:

“allow use of SQL Server on the Linux platform only”.

I can currently only assume that this promo offering will be cheaper than the license that offers dual platform rights, but let’s see!

Microsoft 365 F1

This is a new offering, aimed at those “Firstline” (formerly Kiosk) workers, for whom Office 365 F1 (formerly K1) was intended. Microsoft are now looking to extended the features and benefits of Windows 10 and EMS to these workers too – hence an F1 version of the recently renamed Microsoft 365 bundle license.

There are a couple of key things to note:

“The Windows component of Microsoft 365 F1 operates as an Online Service” and does NOT have rights to:

  • Prior versions
  • Different language versions
  • Different platform versions
  • Lower editions of Windows (including LTSB)

Nor does it grant rights to access or use “virtualized instances of Windows”.

A Microsoft 365 F1 USL DOES grant access to Windows Servers, but is not a “CAL Equivalent License” for any other product.

A “step-up” from Office 365 F1 to Microsoft 365 F1 is available.

 

Visio Online licensing

There have been changes to the licensing here. We can see on page 5 of the Product Terms that:

Visio Pro for Office 365

has been removed and replaced by:

Visio Online Plan 1 & Plan 2

There doesn’t appear to be any further public info on what the plans contain etc. but, as it appears, I’ll be sure to post.

Exchange Online Inactive Mailboxes

A new license has been added to the Exchange Online product line – the “Exchange Online Inactive Mailbox” SKU.

The product name is fairly self-explanatory as this license is required when licensing inactive mailboxes. Again, when there is more public information, I will update with the ins & outs.

UPDATE: Microsoft have confirmed that this change WILL NOT be taking place currently. Although the SKU has been added to the Product Terms, it is not active.

Skype for Business Online Renaming

We get confirmation this month of the Skype for Business Online name changes:

Skype for Business Online PSTN Calling = Calling Plan

Skype for Business Online PSTN Conferencing = Audio Conferencing

Skype for Business Online PSTN Consumption = Communication Credits

Skype for Business Online Cloud PBX = Phone System

Education

We see that Microsoft 365 (the bundle of Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365 & Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS)) A3 & A5 have been added to the product line-up.

There have also been changes to the Student Use Benefits:

Student Use Benefit

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