Microsoft Ignite in the rearview mirror: what we learned

Microsoft has treated this year its big Ignite event more of a marketing presentation than a full-fledged conference, offering a variety of announcements that affect Windows users, as well as large corporations and their networks. (The show was a hybrid affair, with a small in-person option and online access for those unable to travel. I “attended” online.)

At these types of events, I always look for products that I might need at home or in the office, as well as any licensing changes that will affect my annual budget. I have a mix of licenses, ranging from one-time purchases to three-year volume licenses to 365 year licenses; it can therefore be daunting to follow each one of them.

Among the changes announced by Microsoft: all of the company’s Endpoint Management products are integrated Granted. With Endpoint Management, cloud-based management will be known as Microsoft Intune and on-premises management as Microsoft Configuration Manager. (Unsurprisingly, the company is already hinting at other licensing changes.) The Microsoft 365 E5 license was once top of the heap and included security products like Advanced Threat Projection and various threat insights.

Now the company is talking about additional premium features that users will have to purchase on top of the base license. For example, Microsoft announced a cloud-based Microsoft Intune Premium suite that will include Endpoint Privilege Management, Remote Help, and Microsoft Tunnel for Mobile App Management in 2023. Endpoint Privilege Management is designed to help companies provide temporary administrative rights to users when they need it. to install software. The admin can approve the request, allowing the user to perform the activity safely.

The company also pointed out Remote help, which will be a professional version of QuickAssist; it allows an administrator to remotely log into any joined domain or Microsoft account office to view and manage what a user is doing.

These are both expected to be previewed in the coming months and then officially released for additional subscription thereafter.

If you’re a Microsoft Teams user, take note: Microsoft has unveiled a Premium version of the collaboration platform. Advanced security features as well as options for larger meetings such as live caption translation, Teams will also use artificial intelligence to trigger recaps and to-do lists. Also, it will allow for branding customization for backgrounds and landing pages. The public preview will be released later this year and is expected to cost $10 per user per month.

Microsoft Office is also getting a fresh lick of paint and rebranding as Microsoft 365. For anyone who used to check https://outlook.office.com/mail/ you will have to get used to going to www.microsoft365.com from November.

It will be interesting to see whether Microsoft moves more of its features to online or cloud-only offerings or continues to offer desktop versions of its business-critical software. As someone who uses various Outlook and Word plugins to provide additional functionality, I’m still curious if other companies can migrate to online-only applications. (Microsoft is start hinting that it can be moved to online versions.)

Microsoft’s security offerings were also highlighted at Ignite, and the company has a full range tool set to choose from:

Starting November 1, Microsoft plans to offer a carrot to organizations to move away from traditional antivirus platforms; it will offer new and existing customers 50% off the price of Microsoft Defender for Endpoint P1 and P2 licenses. If you are an existing Microsoft Defender Endpoint P1 customer and are upgrading to P2, this discount will be available by June 30, 2023. Note: You can also try the offer before you buy.

As Ignite was designed as a hybrid event, many sessions were recorded and are now online. I found many sessions focused on ransomware and prevention to be interesting. Some, like “DART Stories: Eliminate Ransomware”, showed how attackers gain access to systems and provided action items to protect against ransomware (such as stopping the Remote Desktop Protocol from being publicly exposed). Other sessions focused on moving from On-premises Active Directory to Azure ADdemonstrating that we still have a long way to go to protect credentials and identity.

I hope Microsoft will continue to ensure that these big tech events are not limited to in-person presentations, but can be offered online externally. Virtual attendees can lose the “hallway” discussions that are often as valuable as the conference itself, but moving the show online exposes the information to a wider audience. Take the time to consult the recorded sessions and see for yourself.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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