Archive for January, 2020

Microsoft Edge based on Chromium – Release Milestone

January 28th, 2020

The first “stable” release of Microsoft’s Chromium-based Edge browser is now commercially available, Microsoft announced recently.
This new Edge browser (version 79) is based on the open source Chromium Project’s engine, largely fostered by Google, which is also central to Google’s Chrome browser.

Microsoft kicked is now a Chromium Project code contributor. The older EdgeHTML-based Edge browser still exists (Microsoft now calls it “Microsoft Edge legacy”), and it is going to get replaced at some point by the new Chromium-based version.

The new Edge browser is currently available for “all supported versions of Windows and macOS in more than 90 languages” and also is available for use on Android and iOS systems. Capabilities for Microsoft Edge including AAD support, Internet Explorer mode, 4K streaming, Dolby audio, inking in PDF, Microsoft Search in Bing integration, support for Chrome-based extensions, and more.

. When you do make the switch, your favorites, passwords, form fill information and basic settings will carry over to the new Microsoft Edge without you having to do anything. IT administrator, will need to download an offline deployment package to pilot within a corporate environment—the new Microsoft Edge will not automatically deploy for commercial customers. Additionally, none of the Microsoft Edge preview channels will update to the new Microsoft Edge, as they can be used side-by-side for testing and validation.

The new Edge is much faster and web sites load quickly in it, even with multiple tabs, . The new Edge doesn’t slow down the longer you use the browser, especially when you have multiple tabs open. When you leave IE or Chrome running with multiple tabs in use, it becomes so sluggish you need to close the browser down –not with the new Edge.

Dynamics 365 Wave 2 April 2020 start planning……..

January 28th, 2020

The first release wave of 2020 for Dynamics 365 in April will contains hundreds of new features across Dynamics 365 applications including: Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Field Service, Finance, Supply Chain Management, Human Resources, Commerce and Business Central.

During April 2020, Microsoft will turn on all environments to receive the 2020 release wave 1 features.
The updates will be deployed on your environments automaticallyfollowing their Safe Deployment Process (SDP).

Dynamics 365 Finance, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, or Dynamics 365 Commerce:
- You can configure the maintenance day and time windows in Lifecycle Services (LCS).
- You’ll receive an email if you opt in to receive LCS notifications.
- You’ll be able to select the designated tier 2 sandbox for the update.
– The sandbox environment will be updated followed by the production environment.

You’ll have five business days for testing and validation.

So its important to consider testing and training with previews beforehand.

If you need consulting resources to assist, with testing and training in new features during April there is only a 5 day window and all customers will be upgraded in April so plan ahead to schedule any consulting resources you may need,

The downloadable PDF will be available on January 31, 2020.
Highlights from Customer Engagement applications include:
Dynamics 365 Sales continues to focus on user experience and sellers productivity improvements.
Dynamics 365 Sales Insights expands focus to include inside sales scenarios and enhances conversation intelligence capabilities. New features include deeper conversation analysis with emotion detection to enable sellers with the information they need, when they need it.
Dynamics 365 Customer Service expands agent productivity tooling to help organizations evolve a proactive and predictive service model.
Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights optimizes the customer service experience through AI with new capabilities including richer integration with Power Virtual Agents and access to the insights data for in-depth analytics.
Dynamics 365 Field Service improves effectiveness through a new resource scheduling dashboard, integration with Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, and technician time entries.
Dynamics 365 Marketing remains focused on enabling marketers by enhancing product usability, personalized marketing capabilities with dynamic content for contacts, and integration scenarios with third-party content management systems and Microsoft Forms Pro.
Dynamics 365 Customer Insights enhances data profiling enrichment and segmentation capabilities, helping organizations better understand their customer data and derive actionable insights to drive business processes.

Highlights from Dynamics 365 Operations, Finance, Commerce, and HR applications include:
Dynamics 365 Human Resources expands capabilities for human resources professionals, employees, and managers in leave and absence and benefits management programs.
Dynamics 365 Commerce strengthens the personalized, omni-channel experience for consumers by adding e-commerce, providing smart product recommendations, and enhancing clienteling.
Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection helps merchants increase revenue and reduce fraud losses and costs while improving the consumer’s online check-out experience by releasing two new services, account protection and loss prevention.
Dynamics 365 Finance releases enhancements to: country-specific tax, invoicing, payment formats, and regulatory reporting capabilities to help global organizations stay compliant with newly introduced local regulations.
Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management helps organizations reduce operational costs by: introducing customer self-service experiences, enhancements to asset management, and the new on-hand inventory service for inventory visibility across Dynamics 365 and other legacy systems.

Power Platform
New Power Platform capabilities combine Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents, and the Common Data Service into an unmatched palette of tools to analyze data, build solutions, and automate processes. This release includes robotic process automation (RPA) capabilities in Power Automate, to automate rule-based tasks with point-and-click simplicity supporting on-premises or cloud-based apps.

Power Apps gains significant improvements for developers of all skill levels, improving the sophistication and usability of apps that are created across the web and mobile devices.

Microsoft business intelligence simplifies how organizations derive insights from transactional and observational data. It helps organizations create a data culture where employees can make decisions based on facts, not opinions. In this release wave, Power BI invests in four key areas including: intuitive experiences, a unified BI platform, big data analytics, and pervasive artificial intelligence (AI).

Early access available Feb 3, 2020
Test and validate new features and capabilities that will be a part of the 2020 release wave 1, coming in April, before they get enabled automatically for your end-users

General availability April 1, 2020 Production deployment for the 2020 release wave 1 begins. Regional deployments will commence on April 3, 2020.

Model-driven apps in Dynamics 365: The 2020 wave 1 release does not apply to customers of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (on-premises). The 2020 release wave 1 release will be applicable for the customers of both commercial and the Government Cloud.
Dynamics 365 Finance, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Dynamics 365 Commerce, or Dynamics 365 Business Central: The 2020 wave 1 release is applicable for customers of Finance + Operations (on-premises) as well. You can opt in to preview the new functionalities similar to online.
industry accelerators are included in this wave:

Nonprofit accelerator enables you to develop nonprofit solutions based on entities and attributes that nonprofits commonly leverage for constituent management, fundraising, awards, program delivery, and impact tracking.
Financial services accelerator enables you to quickly develop solutions based on entities and attributes that banks commonly leverage for customer experience and other business processes. These entities include banks, branches, financial products, loans, referrals, limits, requested facilities, and more.
Health accelerator allows you to build solutions and create new use cases and workflows with entities focused on enhanced care coordination and the ability to segment patients and providers based on Electronic Medical Record (EMR) data.
Automotive accelerator enables you to quickly develop solutions based on entities and attributes that dealerships and OEMs commonly leverage for customer experience and other business processes. These entities include deals, sales contracts, specifications, fleet, warranties, inspection, test drives, branding, business, customer-vehicle relationship, vehicle and equipment, lead, service and after-sales management, and more.

Cybercrime – more than 50% of companies were phished in 2019

January 25th, 2020

According to a new report by Proofpoint, ore than half of organisations were successfully phished for valuable intel at least once last year, they state that almost nine in ten organisations worldwide (88 per cent) reported a spear-phishing attempt, while 86 per cent reported BEC attacks (Business Email Compromise).

The same percentage reported being attacked through social media, and 84 per cent were targeted through text and SMS messages.

There were also notable Voice phishing and USB attacks.

More than nine million suspicious emails were reported in 2019 – 67 per cent more compared to 2018.

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Azure Misconfiguration Exposes 250 Million Microsoft Customer Accounts

January 24th, 2020

Microsoft warned its users this week that their customer support case information might have been exposed at the end of 2019 due to security misconfigurations in an Azure-hosted database. According to Microsoft’s investigation, customer data was left unprotected from Dec. 5, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2019.

Most of the personally identifiable information in these customer support records was “redacted” or obscured by “automated tools.”

However, some customer information, if it was slightly off-format, may then have been exposed. Microsoft’s example of such exposed data is a URL that contained extra spaces. The records contained logs of conversations between Microsoft support agents and customers from all over the world, spanning a 14-year period from 2005 to December 2019. All of the data was left accessible to anyone with a web browser, with no password or other authentication needed.

Microsoft took swift action to secure it. ‘I immediately reported this to Microsoft and within 24 hours all servers were secured,” said Bob Diachenko who led the Comparitech security research team that discovered the issue. “< em>I applaud the MS support team for responsiveness and quick turnaround on this despite New Year’s Eve.”

Comparitech also gave this good advice:
the dangers of this exposure should not be underestimated. The data could be valuable to tech support scammers, in particular.

Tech support scams entail a scammer contacting users and pretending to be a Microsoft support representative. These types of scams are quite prevalent, and even when scammers don’t have any personal information about their targets, they often impersonate Microsoft staff. Microsoft Windows is, after all, the most popular operating system in the world.

With detailed logs and case information in hand, scammers stand a better chance of succeeding against their targets. If scammers obtained the data before it was secured, they could exploit it by impersonating a real Microsoft employee and referring to a real case number. From there, they could phish for sensitive information or hijack user devices.

Microsoft customers and Windows users should be on the lookout for such scams via phone and email. Remember that Microsoft never proactively reaches out to users to solve their tech problems—users must approach Microsoft for help first. Microsoft employees will not ask for your password or request that you install remote desktop applications like TeamViewer. These are common tactics among tech scammers.

This follows many high profile beaches e.g.:
•267 million Facebook user IDs and phone numbers exposed online
•2.7 billion exposed email addresses from mostly Chinese domains, 1 million of which included passwords
•Detailed personal records of 188 million people found exposed on the web
•7 million student records exposed by K12.com
•5 million personal records belonging to MedicareSupplement.com exposed to public
•2.8 million CenturyLink customer records exposed
•700k Choice Hotels customer records leaked

If you need to improve your system security call Synergy Software Systems on 0097143365589 to learn more of our solutions.

Qatar and Kuwait defer VAT to 2021

January 20th, 2020

Kuwait and Qatar are the only GCC member countries which have delayed the implementation of the VAT system. The budget committee’s decision is not to implement the VAT before the year 2021, since they don’t see the need to expedite VAT this year..

The IMF has estimated that the revenues from VAT in the UAE may equate to 1.5% of GDP, but Kuwait’s government has no immediate need for fresh revenue with state finances that are the strongest amongst the region.

The Qatar Ministry of Finance, stated that it is still evaluating the potential impacts of VAT introduction and therefore did not implement any VAT law in the year 2019. Qatar said in December that it plans to spend 1.9 percent more in 2020 than in 2019, outlining a 210.5 billion Qatari riyal ($58bn) budget and a reduced budget surplus.

As the government of these two countries are in no hurry to implement VAT as of now, businesses have time to plan their investment and expansion strategy and to be prepared and ensure readiness and be VAT compliant.

End of support deadlines -Microsoft

January 15th, 2020

Businesses running Microsoft’s business software are facing all sorts of end-of-support deadlines at the start of 2020.

Major premises-installed business products are falling out of “extended support” this year, which means they’ll no longer get patches, including security updates, from Microsoft. It’s considered potentially risky to continue to use such “unsupported software” after their end-of-support milestones.

IT pros may have already reacted to address many of these milestones, but some workloads remain as problems to address.
Crashing deadlines are very near this month for organizations using Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, but other important milestones loom, as well.
Windows 7 Client and Server Deadlines – Jan. 14, 2020 end-of-support date for Windows 7. That support deadline also applies to Windows Server 2008/R2, Dynamics CRM 2015, Dynamics GP 2015 R2, Dynamics NAV 2015,Dynamics SL 2015.
Later this year Office 2016 , and Outlook 2016 versions will also go out of support.

SnapLogic iPaaS in the news

January 14th, 2020

Snaplogic is a low code integration platform that is particularly suited to hybrid integrations between cloud and on-premise software e.g. for BI, CPM or ecommerce or EDI . several interesting recent news posts:

• Information Age – Should you consider adopting a cloud data warehouse? Craig discusses data lake and data warehouse considerations with Information Age – https://www.information-age.com/should-you-consider-adopting-cloud-data-warehouse-123486561/ In the modern world of data lakes, CDOs and CIOs will face three major challenges: how to migrate their users, how to live with a hybrid infrastructure for a while and how to future-proof their data platform

• IT Brief Australia – How AI bias is holding back adoption – https://itbrief.com.au/story/snaplogic-how-ai-bias-is-holding-back-adoption Brad writes about combating AI bias to retain public trust and ensure AI initiatives advance responsibly.

• Digitalisation World – The Cost of Legacy Technology – https://digitalisationworld.com/blogs/55941/the-cost-of-legacy-technology Neerav explains the risks, and growing costs, of sticking with outdated legacy technologies. In recent times, lack of innovation and adoption of new technology has proven to be the downfall of some well-known high street names – for example, Thomas Cook has littered the headlines following its collapse. In an era when anyone can book their travel, accommodation and holiday entertainment from the comfort of their own home, travel companies can seriously damage themselves by ignoring this reality, failing to innovate and relying on legacy systems.

Businesses need to know the full extent to which using antiquated tech can cost them money and cause them damage. ………

Microsoft to end support for all Windows 10 Mobile applications …the Office app future

January 11th, 2020

Microsoft plans to end support for all Windows 10 Mobile applications on Jan. 12, 2021, when , Excel, OneNote PowerPoint and Word applications for the Windows 10 Mobile operating system will no longer get patches from Microsoft, including security fixes. The lack of patch support increases risks for those continuing to use those apps since security holes go unpatched. Additionally, the Windows 10 Mobile OS (version 1709) for Windows Phone devices is nearly dead. It went out of support, on Dec. 10, 2019, and patches will stop arriving.

Microsoft will steer mobile app users to its Office App instead on Windows 10, Android and iOS mobile devices. The Office App combines Excel, PowerPoint and Word into a common experience. It’s also better optimized to handle various mobile tasks, Microsoft contends.

The Office App was available as a preview for Android and iOS mobile device users end of last year , although the iOS preview was limited. Microsoft began including the Office App with Windows 10 OS releases earlier this year. Back then, the Office App was described as a “progressive Web app” that use “service worker” Web technology to work with files offline. The experience users get with the Windows 10 Office App and Office.com, Microsoft’s browser-based Office suite, is pretty much the same.. The Office App has integrated search, access to people cards, and can be customized to use organizational templates, which lets organizations more easily brand created documents, such as PowerPoint presentations.

• The Office App has a special “mobile view” to make reading easier compared with Office Mobile Apps. The Office App is deemed “full fledged,” and will even show comments in a Word document. It has a sticky notes capability.
• The Office Lens solution can be used with mobile device cameras to convert photos of documents into sharable files.
• The Office App is optimized for mobile use via various “actions” that let end users transfer files, scan PDFs or QR codes, and take actions on images.
Office App for Windows 10 and Office.com are already being used by “millions of users and thousands of organizations,” The integrated experience of the Office App on Android and iOS phones, aims to free up storage on mobile devices and means that administrators don’t need to push down as many apps to devices.

Mobile App Redesign
Microsoft recently announced that its Office apps for mobile devices, namely “Outlook, OneDrive, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint,” have all been redesigned and that users can “expect new versions of Teams, Yammer, and Planner soon.” Microsoft is using a Fluent design system for its Office applications that developers can build upon using Microsoft’s Fluent toolkit. The announcement promised the ability of the Fluent mobile design to tap 3-D experiences at some point. These mobile Office application redesigns are taking advantage of the Fluid Framework to improve mobile-use scenarios. The Fluid Framework supports user collaborations via the Microsoft Graph, the SharePoint Framework and Office add-ins.

Why do we need a suite of office apps rather than one? While Word is best suited for text-heavy documents, Word documents can include graphics, too. However, Word isn’t nearly as well-suited to the creation of graphics-heavy documents as Publisher is. Similarly, you can paste tables and charts from Excel into Word, Publisher, PowerPoint and other Office applications, just as you can also add raw text or graphics to an Excel spreadsheet. My point is that with a few exceptions, each of the Office applications can accommodate text, graphics, tables and other types of media. However, each of the Office applications is geared heavily toward one specific type of data. Excel, for example, would not be the best application to use if you were writing a novel, even though you could theoretically compose a long manuscript inside a spreadsheet. Likewise, PowerPoint isn’t the best choice when you need an accounting tool.

The fluid design framework is a step forward to closer integration.

Teams is coming to Office 365 ProPlus and 365 Business……..

January 11th, 2020

Microsoft will turn on Microsoft Teams for Office 365 ProPlus or Office 365 Business tenancies that follow the semiannual channel update model starting on Jan. 14, 2020. unless it’s blocked beforehand by IT pros. The “semiannual channel” refers to Microsoft biannual update model, where feature updates typically arrive in the spring and fall. Teams will get delivered to organizations using version 1908 or later of Office 365 ProPlus, Microsoft explained, so the version of the product matters.The Teams update process is different from the update process of other Office apps such as Excel or Word.

Organizations using Office 365 ProPlus or Office 365 Business also have an option to follow a monthly feature update model. Those subscribers already may have received Teams months ago, as Microsoft had kicked off Teams for subscribers using version 1906 of those productivity-suite products back on July 9.
Microsoft’s original plans to deliver Teams to Office 365 ProPlus and Office 365 Business subscribers were described back in June. At that time, Microsoft had explained that it was delivering Teams to Office 365 Business users even though they don’t have the use rights for Teams. The version of Teams that Office 365 Business users get is a free one-year trial version, which is called the “Microsoft Teams Commercial Cloud Trial.” Teams gets delivered to Office 365 Business users even if they did not request getting the trial.To block the arrival of Teams for these Office 365 products requires Group Policy settings or the Office Deployment Tool.

After Teams arrives, it’ll start getting feature and quality updates, which will arrive “approximately every two weeks,”

Be prepared for Potential Iranian Cyberattacks

January 10th, 2020

The drone attack as Suleimani was visiting Baghdad last week is widely expected to prompt counterattacks of some sort from Iran, with Iranian leaders vowing as much in recent days. One of the most rapid ways that Iran can respond is through attacks on computer systems of U.S. businesses and government agencies

The U.S. agency in charge of cybersecurity urges organizations in the United States to prepare for potential attacks from Iran in response to the American drone killing of General Qassim Suleimani.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued its warning, “Potential for Iranian Cyber Response to U.S. Military Strike in Baghdad,” on Monday afternoon. CISA is a federal agency created in 2018 to coordinate with other government entities and the private sector on cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection.

The drone attack as Suleimani was visiting Baghdad last week is widely expected to prompt counterattacks of some sort from Iran, with Iranian leaders vowing as much in recent days. One of the most rapid ways that Iran can respond is through attacks on computer systems of U.S. businesses and government agencies. However, proxy attack on perceived USA allies, or major USA technology firms also have to be considered.

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With growing and ever more sophisticated and expensive attacks, and increasingly stringent legislation such as GDPR with swinging data breach penalties, the risks of international war by cybercrime have gone up another notch.

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Discontinuation of Microsoft Social Engagement

January 3rd, 2020

As previously announced, Microsoft Social Engagement (MSE) will be discontinued for all customers on January 16, 2020. As a current Dynamics 365 customer, you can continue using the Microsoft Social Engagement service until the expiration of your subscription or January 16, 2020, whichever comes first.

Please refer to FAQ page or email mseeol@microsoft.com for any further assistance related to the end of your Microsoft Social Engagement subscription. Customers are requested to look for other social engagement solutions available in Microsoft AppSource or outside markets.