Tag Archive for Office 365

CC’d By Mistake: Helpful Outlook Tip Series – Ignore Feature

Have you been CC’d before on emails that you should not have been copied on in the first place? The old way of handling these emails was to simply delete them as they came in. However, in larger email chains there may be numerous email replies and time spent deleting these can quickly add up, resulting in lost productivity. A faster and easier way to reduce these emails is to highlight the message in your Outlook inbox and then click the Ignore button in the ribbon under the home tab.

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If it’s your first time using this feature, you will see this additional prompt below, just click on Ignore Conversation button to delete the email conversation.

Now, if there are any future replies to that email thread, Outlook will automatically send it to your Deleted Items folder. If you accidentally ignored the email conversation, right click on the email in your Deleted Items and click on the Ignore button again to restore the email conversation back to your inbox.

This is one more tip for how to utilize the features of Office 365 to be more efficient and productive with your time. If you aren’t already using Outlook, we recommend trying Office 365 which gives you access to the latest Office version (Office 2016). Learn more about how BlumShapiro Consulting can help implement Office 365 for your organization to use.

david haleAbout David: As a senior consultant with BlumShapiro Consulting, David coaches a range of businesses on the latest Microsoft cloud solutions. David’s belief is in keeping technology simple and easy to use for businesses. David has experience in the lifecycle of technology implementations from assessments, selections, implementations and project management. David specializes in the SMB/non-profit market for Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics CRMDavid received a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Management from Quinnipiac University. Prior to joining BlumShapiro in 2009, David was a Desktop Support Specialist at Aetna in Middletown, CT. He currently holds a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in Office 365, Dynamics CRM and is a Yammer Certified Community Manager.

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Stop Phishing Emails in Their Tracks: Four Tips to Spot Phishing Emails

lockIf you’ve been on the Internet over the past decade you’ve likely been on the receiving end of at least one phishing email. Phishing is when a hacker tries to disguise themselves as a trustworthy source in order to obtain sensitive information from you; be it your social security number, credit card number, usernames, passwords or other personal information. Every day, as hackers become more and more sophisticated, people fall victim to these scams. Here are four tips you can use to spot and avoid a phishing scam.

  1. Check the sender’s email address. If you receive an email from ABC Company, you should expect the sender’s email address to come from the same address as the company’s website. For example, let’s say you receive an email from ABC Company, and you know ABC Company owns www.abccompany.com. If the sender’s email address is abccompany@yahoo.com, it is likely a fake as it is from a Yahoo domain. That said, it is also possible for hackers to spoof an email address to make it look legitimate. If you’ve never had contact with the person emailing you before you should always be cautious. As a general rule, unless an email is digitally signed, it is possible it was spoofed. A digital signature includes a unique signature from the certificate, along with a public key proving to the recipient that you are not an imposter.

    2. Always be suspicious of emails with generic greetings. Hackers send thousands of phishing emails in the hopes they’ll get a few fish to take the bait. They don’t always have the time, or likely the knowledge, to personalize each individual email and often send in large batched with generic greetings. As such, always be cautious with opening any email which starts with a generic greeting like, “Dear Customer” or “Dear Friend”.

    3. Always be suspicious of any email requesting “urgent” personal or financial information from you or your company. If you receive an email with words and phrases like “Urgent” or “Action Required” make sure you are diligent in checking its legitimacy. Be sure to check the sender’s email address if you receive this type of email. If the email is from a government agency (has a .gov email address) such as the IRS it is likely a phishing scam. In our experience, no government agency, especially with their initial contact, will request your personal information via email.

    4. Avoid clicking on any links in the email. Hackers may include links in the email taking you to fake websites to try and get information from you. The fake website may look like a real business website, or a website for a legitimate company, but the URL will be slightly different. For example, paypal.com is a real site, but www.paypal.somebusiness.com may be a phishing site Hackers tend to also mix in links to real websites along with links to fake phishing sites for a more sophisticated attack. As such, it is best to manually type in the URL or use a search engine to try and find the real link.

Hackers are getting more and more sophisticated each day. Always keep your guard up when opening strange emails and going to new websites. Be sure to keep these tips in mind when you open your inbox to avoid being reeled in to a phishing scam.

About Matt:

As a senior in BlumShapiro’s Technology Consulting Group, Matt has over 7 years of experience with Microsoft .NET software application development, including solutions for web, client/server and mobile platforms.

Matt’s past experience includes freelance web development, and running his own business in web application design and development. Matt joined BlumShapiro in 2012 as a staff consultant, and won the Rookie of the Year award his first year at BlumShapiro.


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Office 365 Groups – Making Life Easier

Projects and group work happen all the time at the office. With the digital revolution it’s all about getting this work done in less time. While being more efficient is great, it can be challenging at times to keep up with the pace in ever-changing work environments. Moving your technology infrastructure to the cloud can be a great way to keep up with the evolving technology landscape by staying up to date with the latest innovations. As an Office 365 coach, I enjoy teaching and sharing the latest features of Office 365 with our clients, including my new favorite, Office 365 Groups.

If you have ever worked on a group project, I am sure you know there are usually a few things that you need to have your IT department setup for you to help track group progress, communicate etc. For example, you may want a distribution list created for emailing team members, a shared calendar created to track events and meetings or a shared folder on a network drive for storing documents related to the group. While it is possible to set up and configure a mailbox, network drives, assign permissions and so forth, this can take valuable time away from being productive. Even after everything is configured, you may find yourself with technology that is not user friendly. For instance, you may have created a distribution list for email and then set up a Dropbox folder or a network share folder for storing documents. Using different apps and having to shift back and forth between them can slow down the progress of your project, which is where Office 365 Groups comes in to play.

Office 365 Groups solves the issue by providing all of the collaboration services you would need in a focused work area within Office 365—eliminating the issues caused by using disparate systems and apps. Each group in Office 365 contains the following:

  • Inbox – Group emails
  • Calendar – Group meetings/events
  • Document Library – Storing files and folders
  • OneNote Notebook – Taking meeting/project notes
  • Planner – Manage project tasks
  • Connectors – Connect your favorite apps to the group

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All of these features can be created in less than 10 seconds without any IT involvement. This can be a huge timesaver for groups in the business world thanks to the power of the cloud. Getting work done faster and more efficiently is a win for the employee and a win for the business. Office 365 Groups is just one of the many examples of how the cloud is making everyone’s lives a little bit easier.

To learn more about Office 365 Groups and how your company can use them, contact our BlumPOWER team at info@imagineblum.com.

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5 Reasons to Migrate to SharePoint Online



Over the past year, 60% of Fortune 500 companies have purchased Office365. Microsoft says it is their fastest growing commercial product ever. Businesses around the world are taking advantage of lower costs and the increased capabilities of the Cloud. As a decision maker for a business that leverages SharePoint, you’ve probably noticed the growth of SharePoint Online, which is available as part of Office 365 or as a standalone service. But with so much invested in your on-premises SharePoint environment, you may be questioning whether migration to SharePoint Online is the right decision. Below are five reasons why migrating to SharePoint Online is a good idea for your business.

1. Stop worrying about your farm’s performance. Let Microsoft handle it

It is regularly estimated that IT staff spends 80% of its time maintaining and supporting existing infrastructure and systems. This leaves only 20% towards technological innovation. An on premise SharePoint farm requires significant infrastructure and maintenance in order to ensure good performance. With SharePoint Online, Microsoft provides the infrastructure in their massive geo-redundant data centers with dedicated engineers monitoring and optimizing the performance round the clock. Who better to manage your SharePoint infrastructure than Microsoft? Migrating to the cloud cuts capital expenditures on infrastructure while also allowing IT staff to focus more on innovation. Cutting costs and increasing innovation is the best recipe for growing your business. If you aren’t doing it, you can be sure your competitors are.

2. Always the latest features

Microsoft is constantly innovating with over 120 enhancements to Office 365 in the last year. With SharePoint Online, your business can begin to leverage new features as soon as they are released. There is no need to upgrade to a new version of SharePoint. Below are some notable enhancements to SharePoint online. Some of these are available now and others will be rolling out soon:

  • Integration with Delve, the personal search and discovery tool that fetches information you need before you even go looking for it (available now).
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) capability which allows you to discover sensitive data that is stored in SharePoint lists and libraries and create policies that can take appropriate actions (some features available now, others in development).
  • Document conversations which enable people to share ideas and expertise around Office documents, images and videos, directly in the context of editing or reviewing (rolling out).
  • More mobile/touch enhancements to ensure a consistent experience across all devices (in development).
  • User activity reports that will allow you to audit SharePoint and OneDrive for Business user actions such as views, edits, deletes, downloaded files, and sharing of files (in development).

To see the full roadmap for Office365, visit http://roadmap.office.com

 3. Heighten security

Yes. I said heighten. Some organizations are initially skeptical of the Cloud because it is new to them or because of concerns around privacy and security. The truth is your SharePoint environment is probably safer in Microsoft’s data centers and here are some reasons why:

  • Physical data center access is restricted to authorized personnel and multiple layers of physical security have been implemented, such as biometric readers, motion sensors, 24-hour secured access, video camera surveillance, and security breach alarms.
  • For Government customers, the Office 365 Government Community Cloud provides an isolated, US based cloud infrastructure that complies with certifications and accreditations that are required for US Public Sector customers
  • Data is encrypted both at rest and via the network as it is transmitted between a data center and a user.
  • Threat management, security monitoring, and file/data integrity prevents or detects any tampering of data.
  • Dedicated threat management teams proactively anticipate, prevent, and mitigate malicious access.
  • Office365 is verified to meet requirements specified in ISO 27001, EU model clauses, HIPAA BAA, and FISMA.
  • Your data is not mined or accessed for advertising purposes
  • If a government approaches Microsoft for access to customer data, they redirect the inquiry to you, the customer, whenever possible and have and will challenge in court any invalid legal demand that prohibits disclosure of a government request for customer data.

The measures taken by Microsoft to secure data exceed the capabilities of many businesses – particularly small to medium sized businesses. For many, the move to SharePoint Online results in a more secure SharePoint environment.

To learn more about Microsoft’s approach to security and privacy, visit the Office 365 Trust center at https://products.office.com/en-us/business/office-365-trust-center-cloud-computing-security

4. It is not as hard as you might think

When I talk to clients that have large SharePoint implementations or significant customizations, they are often concerned about the complexity of migrating to the Cloud. In many cases, however, migration can be painless. Any migration project is simply a matter of having a plan and executing it with the right tools and the right people.

Here are a few points to consider:

  • There are great tools to help whether you are moving some file shares or a farm with 10,000 sites. For example, Metalogix offers a tool called Content Matrix which provides a zero-downtime solution for migrating your SharePoint sites.
  • Microsoft partners can help migrate your custom solutions and adapt them to the new “Add-In” model. You know – like that farm solution you are dreading to have to rewrite?
  • Hybrid is an option for what you have to keep on premise. Some IT managers face a lot of pressure from legal departments or customers to keep certain data on-site. For those situations, you can leverage the hybrid capabilities of SharePoint. Hybrid allows you to decide what goes to the Cloud and what stays. The on-site footprint only needs to be large enough to accommodate the content that stays. Microsoft’s hybrid option allows you to maintain both environments while providing a seamless experience for end users. A great example of this is the unified search coming in SharePoint 2016 (also will be available as an update to SharePoint 2013).

5. It will be the last SharePoint migration you have to worry about

Many SharePoint veterans can remember migrations between versions 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013 in order to leverage the latest innovations from Microsoft. The good news is that once you migrate to SharePoint online you are done with SharePoint migrations.

Imagine you have a lease on a sports car that allows you to get the newest model whenever it is released. It always has the latest in-dash technology, gets the best gas mileage, has the most horsepower, and now it drives itself because…well… that’s the latest innovation. Once you migrate to SharePoint Online, it is like you are driving that car. Your business will always have the latest content and collaboration technology from Microsoft.

In this article, I’ve covered five reasons why migrating to SharePoint Online is a good decision for many businesses. The next step is to get to work on your migration plan. Need help? Call a Microsoft partner so they can help you plan and implement your migration with the many tools that are available.

As a manager with BlumShapiro Consulting, Joe Werner leads our Content and Collaboration Practice area. He helps businesses leverage technologies such as SharePoint and Yammer to innovate and improve business processes.