This Week in IT, OneDrive gets a huge update, including AI recommendations, new file filters, customizable folders, and collaborative views, plus there are new controls for IT Pros! And Microsoft makes an announcement about the new Teams client, there are several important updates coming to Exchange Online, and security improvements for Entra ID.
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This Week in IT, OneDrive gets a huge update including AI file recommendations, new file filters, customizable folders and collaborative views. Plus there are new controls for IT pros. And Microsoft announces some news about the new Teams client. There are several important updates coming to Exchange Online and security improvements for EntraID.
Hi, my name is Russell Smith and this is the show where I cover all the news about Microsoft 365, Windows and Azure. But before I get started today, I’ve got a quick favour to ask you. Last week’s video about 70% of the people who watched weren’t subscribed to the channel. Now as today’s video goes live, we’re at around 830 subscribers and I’d really like to get that up to about 870 this week. So if you’d like to help me with the challenge, it would be great if you subscribe to the channel and don’t forget to hit the bell notification so that you don’t miss out on the latest uploads.
There’s a whole load of news connected to OneDrive this week. So there’s a new release of OneDrive, Microsoft is calling it OneDrive 3.0 and I’m going to divide the news into three sections. So we’re going to talk about the new homepage, the copilot integration that’s coming in December and the new controls for IT pros. So let’s start with the homepage when you open the OneDrive web app. First of all, there are now AI recommendations across the top. So you’ll see a section called For You and tiles representing files that Microsoft thinks might be interesting for you to see at this point in time. So I’m not sure what these recommendations are based on exactly. I’m guessing the last time you edited the document and whether other people are actively working on that document. But of course it remains to be seen really how useful these AI recommendations are actually going to be. You’ve also got a new set of filters so that you can search for documents based on the file type. I guess that’s sometimes useful.
I know that I’m looking for a particular kind of file so that’s there if you want it. There’s also a new add new button which offers you to create a word document or PowerPoint presentation from scratch based on a particular template to help kickstart that process. You can also now personalize the color of folders in OneDrive.(…) And I think some of the most interesting features though are the new browse by people and browse by meeting.(…) So for instance, if you browse by meeting you can see any files that were shared during a meeting and if that meeting was recorded you also get access to that meeting there. So I think that’s really useful because there’s often a confusion about where you actually find the recording. But now you can just go to a list of meetings and find all of the files associated with it.
And browse by people is also really interesting. Sometimes I know that somebody sent me a document or shared a document with me and now I can see a list of the people in my organization and all of the latest files that they shared. And the shared view shows you files not only that have been shared out using the shared dialogue in OneDrive but also any files that were shared with you or by you in Teams and email, of course providing that you’re using Outlook, then they will also appear there. And there are a few other things coming.
So, there’s going to be offline access and files on demand coming early in 2024.(…) So offline access means that you’ll be able to use the web client to open a file and then any changes that you make to the file while you’re offline will then be automatically synchronized back up to the cloud as soon as you get an internet connection. And this new OneDrive experience has also come into the Files app in Teams. Now I don’t know why they just don’t call it OneDrive. Why they have to call it the Files app, I guess it doesn’t really matter that much. But essentially of course it is OneDrive. And a lot of what we can see on the OneDrive homepage now you can already see in the Files app.
The only big things that really seem to be missing are the AI recommendations for you across the top and the ability to browse files by people and by meeting. But I guess those things will gradually come over the coming weeks. Now I think that one of the biggest selling points of Microsoft 365 is the ability to search and of course with AI coming to process and analyze all of the data that you have in OneDrive and to be able to use it in a more productive way. And at least for me one of the biggest problems is being able to find what I need. So anything that helps me to be able to do that if I can now search by people, meeting, all these different new collaborative views and ways of organizing files in OneDrive have to be a benefit.
My only question about this is well personally I never use the OneDrive application in a browser. So that’s kind of a problem for me that none of this is really surface and I very rarely use the Files app in Teams but maybe I’m not a usual use case because I know that lots of people tend to be more browser based than I am. So my question is are these OneDrive features going to be surfaced in the new file explorer that’s coming to Windows 11? And I do know that some of these OneDrive features are going to be part of the file explorer. So I think the AI file recommendations for instance some of these new filters although it’s going to be presented in a slightly different way it’s not going to look exactly like you see in the OneDrive web app. But in my mind it’s important to make all of these new features available everywhere not just in the OneDrive web app but in the Teams file app and of course in file explorer in Windows as well.
I’ve heard some complaints about OneDrive why don’t they just fix the sync in for the Windows client and all the rest of it and you know I get that completely and I know that it would be good. There are some improvements coming to that sync app application. I think that you know just dropping OneDrive for something else you know Google Drive or Dropbox is all very well but if you’re invested in the Microsoft 365 but if you want to make use of all of those collaborative features in the desktop apps you have to be using OneDrive. There’s no option to have you know collaborative all that real-time editing capabilities with your colleagues if you’re using Dropbox or Google Drive. What I would like to see in the clients is the ability to restart it by just clicking a button.
Quite often if there’s a problem I have to basically log out log back in again or restart that OneDrive sync client. I think it would be nice just to have a push button that automatically restarts it. Anyway I’d love to know what you think about these changes and OneDrive in general in the comments below. So Co-pilot is being integrated into this OneDrive experience as well. Now this isn’t coming until December and I’m guessing that you’re going to need to have a subscription that supports Co-pilot. I don’t know the exact details on that but what is it going to allow you to do? It’s going to allow you to find files using natural language input. It’s going to allow you to analyze files without ever having to open them.(…) It’s also going to allow you to create summaries things like this. I think that’s a real boon. It’s a real advantage and I think it’s all really about integrating this.
Obviously you can open a file, copy and paste it into chat GPT and have it do all of those things but that’s a huge pain. But it’s great just to have the ability to do this while you’re in OneDrive and not have to take that information out. And of course if this can help me find files, I’d be really interested to see how well that actually works. So a few important updates coming for IT pros with this as well. So you’re now going to have the ability to move OneDrives across Microsoft 365 tenants and all of the share and links will be maintained so that obviously if a user clicks on something they will still be able to get access regardless of where that file is now located.
So, obviously that’s a great facility.(…) And the OneDrive client is getting some reporting features so you’ll be able to get reports on errors and all that kind of things. You can find out if a user is having particular problems. And there are new granular conditional access policies. So for instance you could set multi-factor authentication as a requirement to make sure they get that extra level of security. Right, so on to the rest of this week’s news.(…) Yesterday Microsoft announced that its new Teams 2 client, the next generation of the Teams client, is now generally available. Of course it’s been fairly available over the last few months. Users have had the option to switch to it if they want to use it. Now Microsoft is saying it’s kind of ready for the big time and you shouldn’t be too afraid of rolling this out to your organizations. In other Teams news Microsoft also said that Teams now supports up to 1,000 standard and shared channels.
Okay, there are several important updates this week to talk about related to Exchange Online. Now Microsoft has been in the process of deprecating remote PowerShell support for Exchange and that’s finally ending this month. So if you want to remotely connect to Exchange Online you have to do that now via the REST API. So that means using the Exchange PowerShell module version 3.
There are a couple of advantages to this. Most importantly is it security, it supports multi-factor authentication and better performance than remote PowerShell support. So you should get better performance across the network and see less failures when you’re trying to perform some kind of operation. A couple of new security features come into Exchange Online. So Microsoft is now supporting DNSsec for inbound email and also a new feature is coming for SMTP mail, so DANE support.
This stands for DNS-based Authentication of Named Entities and basically it’s designed to verify certificates used to protect email communication when TLS, the transport security layer, is being used. And Microsoft also said that Outlook for the web and Outlook for Windows is getting support for the message recall feature in Exchange Online. So that is coming to those clients soon.
This was a bit of a new one for me but there’s a new hacking campaign against Outlook emails using the zero fonts phishing technique. Now what this involves is basically putting some text into an email and setting the font size to zero so you can’t read it or see it. Now in the past hackers have embedded this text just to make it harder for AV systems to automatically detect phishing emails but what they seem to be doing with this particular campaign is embedding some text that makes it look to the user that the email is more trustworthy. So according to these researchers the latest campaign against Outlook is putting some text below the subject line. It says that this email has been automatically scanned by this AV system so maybe that makes the user’s AV system better trust that email. But this is something that you should probably make users aware of and do a little bit of research to see how this zero font technique works.
Mesh enters preview this month. So what is mesh? Well this is Microsoft’s kind of three-dimensional digital workspace. It can also be used for avatars so this has appeared in teams recently so instead of having you on camera you can have an you know a live motion avatar that represents you and creating you know digital worlds basically or workspaces as Microsoft puts it and there’s all sorts of other features like spatial audio,(…) the ability to kind of interact with immersive games that are built in and you know this is just a new experience for teams meetings and it’s available outside of teams as well as I understand not really sure how it all works. I’ve never used it myself but I’d be interested to try the avatars at least but you can create these workspaces now and you know Microsoft has been talking about this for at least a few years I think so it’s finally coming to fruition.
Entra ID privileged identity management is getting a couple of new features so now for just in time access it supports groups and before I believe it just supported user accounts but now you can do the just in time access stuff with groups so obviously you know that’s going to just give you some more flexibility in the administration of that feature and not only that but Microsoft has added conditional access support for just in time access as well and while we’re on the subject of Entra ID, Microsoft has added a new setting that should be beneficial for organizations that are using a hybrid so Windows Server Active Directory and Entra ID or Azure Active Directory, as it was called, setup and that new setting is allow on-premises password change to reset user risk.
So, while Microsoft encourages organizations to master all changes in Entra ID and not in on-premises Active Directory for organizations that do reset their passwords in their on-premises Active Directory if you had these user risk policies set up at Entra ID it wouldn’t necessarily understand that a password had been reset on-premises because that’s not written back to Entra ID so that could cause problems if you wanted to use all of this user risk stuff but now you have the option to inform Entra ID that a password change has been made on-premises and hopefully all of that user risk stuff should work as intended so do check that out if you have a hybrid setup. If you found this video useful I’d really appreciate it if you gave it a like because it helps to get more people to see the video on YouTube and of course to grow this channel.
That’s it from me for this week but I’m going to leave you with another video on the screen that you might find useful and I hope to see you next time.