Tag Archives: update

Nutanix Objects 2.0 lays groundwork for hybrid cloud

Nutanix pitched its latest Objects update as scale-out object storage workloads, but experts said the hyper-converged infrastructure specialist is likely preparing for a push into the cloud.

Nutanix Objects 2.0 introduced features aimed at big data workloads. The new multicluster support consolidates Nutanix clusters to a single namespace, allowing for simpler, single-console management. Nutanix Objects 2.0 also added a 240 TB node that is larger than any other Nutanix HCI node, allowing more capacity per cluster. The update also added WORM support and Splunk certification.

Nutanix Objects, which launched in August 2019, provides software-defined object storage and is a stand-alone product from Nutanix HCI. Greg Smith, vice president of product marketing at Nutanix, said typical use cases included unstructured data archiving, big data and analytics. He also noticed an uptick in cloud-native application development in AWS S3 environments. Nutanix HCI software uses an S3 interface.

“We see increasing demand for object storage, particularly for big data,” Smith said.

Supporting cloud-native development is the real endgame of Nutanix Objects 2.0, said Eric Slack, senior analyst at Evaluator Group. The new features and capabilities aren’t to capture customers with traditional object storage use cases, because it’s not cost-effective to put multiple petabytes on HCI. He said no one is waiting for an S3 interface before buying into HCI.

However, that S3 interface is important because, according to Slack, “S3 is what cloud storage talks.”

Slack believes the enhancements to Nutanix Objects will lay the groundwork for Nutanix Clusters, which is currently in beta. Nutanix Clusters allows Nutanix HCI to run in the cloud and communicate with Nutanix HCI running in the data center. This means organizations can develop applications on-site and run them in the cloud, or vice versa.

“I think that’s why they’re doing this — they’re getting ready for Nutanix Clusters,” Slack said. “This really plays into their cloud design, which is a good idea.”

Organizations want that level of flexibility right now because they do not know which workloads are more cost-efficient to run on premises or in the cloud. Having that same, consistent S3 interface is ideal for IT, Slack said, because it means their applications will run wherever it’s cheaper.

Some organizations have been burned during cloud’s initial hype and moved many of their workloads there, only to find their costs have gone up. Slack said that has led to repatriation back into data centers as businesses do the cost analysis.

“Cloud wasn’t everything we thought it was,” Slack said.

Scott Sinclair, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), came to a similar conclusion about the importance of Nutanix Objects. HCI is about consolidating and simplifying server, network and storage, and Objects expands Nutanix HCI into covering object storage’s traditional use cases: archive and active archive. However, there are growing use cases centered around developing in S3.

“We’re seeing the development of apps that write to an S3 API that may not be what we classify as traditional archive,” Sinclair said.

Screenshot of Nutanix Objects 2.0
Nutanix’s S3 interface streamlines interaction between on premises and cloud.

Citing ESG’s 2020 Technology Spending Intentions survey, Sinclair said 64% of IT decision-makers said their IT environments are more complex than they were years ago. Coupled with other data pointing to skills shortages in IT, Sinclair said organizations are currently looking for ways to simplify their data centers, resulting in interest in HCI.

That same survey also found 24% of respondents said they needed to go hybrid, with the perception that using the cloud is easier. Sinclair said this will logically lead to an increase in the use of S3 protocols, and why Nutanix Objects is uniquely well-positioned. Right now, IT administrators know they need to be using both on-premises and cloud resources, but they don’t know to what extent they should be using either. That’s why businesses are taking the most flexible approach.

“Knowing that you don’t know is a smart position to take,” Sinclair said.

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Kurt DelBene’s March 4 guidance to King County employees – Stories

Hi everyone,

I wanted to update you on the latest public guidance changes for King County, the region where the Redmond area campuses are located.  The specific recommendations from King County may be found here. We are adjusting our guidance in response to these new recommendations.

These updates will go into effect at the end of day today, Pacific Standard Time, and will remain in effect through March 25th, but we will be continuously monitoring the situation and adjusting guidance as appropriate.

As always, for full list of our guidance to employees, please visit the Global Security website.

Puget Sound and Bay Area work from home updates:

  • Consistent with King County guidance, we are recommending all employees who are in a job that can be done from home should do so through March 25th. Taking these measures will ensure your safety and also make the workplace safer for those that need to be onsite. Please let your manager know that you will be working from home, so all our teams remain well coordinated.
  • If in your role it is essential to be in the office or other work environments (e.g., data center, retail, etc.), plan to continue to go to your location. We will continue to implement the CDC guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing the locations. If you are not sure whether you are in a role that requires you to be onsite, you should speak to your manager.
    • The exceptions to this new guidance are the following groups who are being advised by health authorities to avoid interaction in large groups or public settings:
      • If you are over 60
      • If you have an underlying health condition (heart disease, diabetes, etc.)
      • If you are immune system compromised
      • If you are pregnant
    • In these cases, you should work with your manager to determine leave options or other accommodations available to you.
    • If you are a caregiver of someone that is immune system compromised, please contact your health provider for input.
  • If you will be in the office or other work environments, we recommend limiting prolonged close interactions with people. Specific recommendations are below, but your manager can help implement plans that work well in your particular situation.
    • Limit prolonged interactions and try to stay more than 6 feet/1.8 meters away from others.
    • Keep in-person meetings as short as possible.
    • If you are in open office space and located 6 feet/1.8 meters away from others, you meet the current guidance for appropriate distance from others.
  • Most importantly do not come to work if you are sick. This will be clearly posted on all building entrances.

Updated Global Travel Guidance:

  • We recommend that people postpone travel to Puget Sound or Bay Area campuses unless essential for the continuity of Microsoft.
  • All non-essential business travel should be canceled in regions with active COVID-19
    • “Essential” is defined as work related to operations, sales, customer services (e.g., customer support and customer success).
    • You should discuss travel felt to be essential with your manager and get their approval.
  • You are not required to travel if you have concerns about doing so.

 If your region was not mentioned in this email or my email yesterday, it is because there are no additional updates to the current guidelines, but we will continue to keep you informed. Please look for updates from Global Security if the situation changes in your area.

If you have any questions on how the above guidance applies to your particular circumstances, please discuss with your manager.  You can also send questions to HR.

 What to do if you’re feeling symptoms or believe you’ve been exposed:

In King County, if you believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, contact the novel coronavirus call center: 206-477-3977 or your health care provider. For other locations, please contact your local health department hotline.

If you believe you may have symptoms, please contact your health care provider immediately.

Note for all employees globally:  If you are receiving testing or have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, please confidentially inform HR – we will assist in informing your manager and taking measures that protect others.

 As a reminder, we are following the below precautionary measures from the WHO:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • If you are sick (e.g., flu, cold), do not come to work.
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell or showing symptoms of illness.
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider.

We will continue to assess the situation and update you as our recommendations change. I really appreciate your patience.

Thanks,

Kurt

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Author: Microsoft News Center

For Sale – 6 x 4TB & 12 x 2TB HDD’s

I’m also quite interested in a couple drives – could you update the thread with what you have left?

Cheers

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For Sale – 6 x 4TB & 12 x 2TB HDD’s

I’m also quite interested in a couple drives – could you update the thread with what you have left?

Cheers

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Windows 10 issues continue with Autopilot update

Although the latest issue with a Windows 10 update does not appear to have caused damage, users spoke of the need for further testing and oversight as Microsoft rolls out new versions of its OS.

Last week, Microsoft issued an update intended solely for Windows Autopilot-configured computers to the general public. Autopilot is a way for enterprises to automatically set up and configure new devices.

In its notes about the release, Microsoft indicated that the update should have no effect on users who don’t use Autopilot. Still, users offered mixed reactions to the news — especially given that past updates have caused Windows 10 issues such as data deletion, device freezing and the re-lettering of a computer’s drives.

William Warren, the owner of Brunswick, Maryland-based IT services company Emmanuel Technology Consulting, said he was concerned about continuing issues with Windows updates.

“They just can’t seem to get it right,” he said. “When you’re talking about an install base as diverse as [the one] Windows has to deal with, I don’t expect things to be totally problem-free but, with something like this, it’s like, ‘C’mon guys, pay attention.'”

William WarrenWilliam Warren

Warren said he had been keeping his clients on an older version of Windows 10 and would likely have them stay there until required to update.

“At least with this one, it didn’t become a huge data destruction debacle,” he said, referring to an October 2018 patch that deleted files of users who work with Known Folder redirection.

How software is currently developed is the real culprit, according to Warren said. He referred to across-the-board issues with software, including the flawed Boeing 737 Max software that led to plane crashes.

“What people need to do is stop fast iteration,” he said. “They need a second, third or fourth pair of eyes looking at code before it’s out the door. The mindset now is to fix bugs after release.”

With such a model, Warren said, companies treat customers as beta testers — or, in some cases, alpha testers.

“The file deletion debacle never should’ve gotten past QA,” he said, adding that he believed Microsoft had curtailed its use of testers in favor of having insiders find problems. “It’s Microsoft being tone-deaf.”

He did note that the latest problem did not seem to cause major issues.

“With this one, I see it as someone who didn’t tick a box they should have, or did tick a box they shouldn’t have,” he said. “It could have been a lot worse.”

Daniel BeatoDaniel Beato

Daniel Beato, director of technology at New Jersey IT consulting firm TNTMAX, said he hadn’t used Windows Autopilot and hadn’t been affected by the recent update. Still, he noted a lack of consistency with Microsoft’s rollouts.

“I think there needs to be more testing,” he said.

Beato said there seemed to be fewer Windows 10 issues with updates over time, although minor snags, like losing Google Chrome extensions after updating, remained.

“There were not a lot of big problems, and not a lot of problems with applications,” he said. “They have done a little better.”

Beato said, although the latest problem seems to be an oversight, it’s important to recognize that everyone can make mistakes.

“There’s a human part of things that, I think, sometimes we forget,” he said.

Automation tech continues to mature

Mark BowkerMark Bowker

Mark Bowker, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said the tension between updating software and maintaining stability was an old one, although one that has heightened in recent years.

“Updates have always been a thorn in the side of IT pros, given their responsibility for deploying and maintaining them,” he said. “Five years ago, the cadence was much further apart. Now, it’s coming at a much faster pace, and it has some IT pros thrown.”

Updates, Bowker said, can bring two things: broken applications or an improved user experience.

Andrew HewittAndrew Hewitt

As far as Autopilot goes, Forrester Research analyst Andrew Hewitt said he believed users would still have confidence in that service.

“There’s widespread belief that these new deployment automation technologies are still fairly new. They are going to have their bugs and issues and still require a fair amount of work to get them up and running,” he said. “I expect this space to mature rapidly over the next one to two years as customers find ways to optimize the service and Microsoft continues to mature [it].”

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Actifio 10c adds container support and DR orchestration

Actifio customers who are heavily invested in public cloud got a hefty update this week with version 10c.

Actifio 10c added features aimed at universal portability between on-premises and cloud environments. It now supports seven major cloud providers: Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Alibaba Cloud, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud, VMware Cloud, AWS and Microsoft Azure. Customers can write backups to multiple targets, either to their data center or one or more public clouds, and can fail over to another cloud entirely if they want. The goal is to give customers full flexibility and interoperability regardless of where the data resides.

Another major feature added in 10c focused on containers. Actifio’s backup cloning feature for spinning up copies of data in test environments now supports Kubernetes, allowing customers to quickly clone data directly into containers. Brian Reagan, chief marketing officer at Actifio, said he has noticed increased adoption and demand for container support among test/dev customers. He also sees the use of containers as something that will feed greater demand for universal portability.

Reagan claims 10c can deliver SSD-like storage speed from object store using clever caching. A layer of intelligence during the read/write process between on-premises SSD and S3-compatible object storage creates a cache of recoverable data in its original format, avoiding the need to rehydrate. S3 and other forms of object store tend to be cheaper than other storage options, but the cost comes in the form of lower recall speed.

Reagan said Actifio 10c added more than 20 features or functionality upgrades. Other noteworthy features include one-click disaster recovery (DR) orchestration and wizards to simplify backing up databases including SAP HANA, ASE and MaxDB as well as Oracle, MySQL and Db2. Actifio 10c also added an agentless VM snapshot management feature for AWS and Azure.

Actifio 10c is in early access and is expected to become generally available in early 2020.

Targeting test/dev

Actifio competes with established backup vendors such as Veritas, Dell EMC, Veeam and Commvault along with relative newcomers such as Cohesity, Rubrik and Druva. Although Actifio’s replication technology is ideal for backup and initially targeted the backup market, the company has made a concerted effort in the last few years to pivot toward the test/dev market. Reagan said a majority of new Actifio customers now start with test/dev purposes in mind rather than backup.

He said enterprises today gain market advantage by developing faster than their competitors. Many of these customers are looking to improve on that front rather than invest in backup. Actifio is pushing the development use case to capture these customers, but can use its technology to provide for the backup use case as well.

screenshot of Actifio 10c
Actifio 10c’s DR orchestration lets users set the order of automated recovery.

Storage and data protection industry analysts say backup as we know it is on the way out, and that backup vendors should be looking to support secondary data use cases that go beyond simple backup and recovery. Reusing copies of data to serve business ends such as test/dev and analytics is one such area of potential expansion.

However, George Crump, president of storage analyst firm Storage Switzerland and an IT consultant himself, said most people still struggle with basic backup and recovery. A combination of data growth, shrinking IT staff and expertise and stricter service-level agreements (SLAs) makes it harder for organizations to reliably create recoverable backups and restore from them when something goes wrong. Backup itself is not always a specialty anymore, and instead has often become the responsibility of a staff member or team with other IT duties.

“Generally, nowadays, you don’t have a backup specialist on staff,” Crump said.

Crump also added that from his experience with his own clients, most of them use Actifio for backup and DR rather than any of its test/dev-focused use cases.

Crump said vendors can combat this is by simplifying backup as much as possible. He sees 10c’s DR orchestration and backup setup wizards as serving that need, and it’s as important a feature as container support and object store performance enhancement. He pointed out that Veeam, Commvault, Cohesity and other vendors have made moves toward automated DR. Despite these new tools, Crump recommends that organizations still struggling with backup reevaluate their staffing around how they handle their IT infrastructure.           

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For Sale – [NOW SOLD] 2019 Apple MacBook Pro, 13.3″, Space Grey, 128GB SSD/8GB RAM

UPDATE 12/12: NOW SOLD

FOR SALE: Apple MacBook Pro 13.3″, Space Grey, 128GB SSD / 8GB RAM

This is my first sale on AV Forums although I have been a member for many years (last actively posting in 2012-ish). I understand that there is a high element of trust involved so I will do what I can (within reason) to provide confidence to the buyer. More than happy to provide as much identification, photographs/videos of the laptop etc as the buyer requires.

Reason for sale is to revert back to a Windows-based laptop due to personal preference. I love Apple and have had many MacBook Pros and Airs in the past, sadly my partner doesn’t feel the same way!

Bought from Currys PC World in Wednesbury on 8 November 2019 (just over a month ago). This is the base specification model 13-inch MacBook Pro which at the time of writing is currently being sold for £1299 on the Apple UK website. It has been in regular use since purchase and the battery has just over 33 cycles but mostly used for watching Netflix. It is in excellent condition (please see photographs), handled with care at all times and has been stored in a smoke-free, pet-free home.

Specification:

  • Apple MacBook Pro (2019), 13.3″ LED-backlit Retina IPS display (2560×1600)
  • Space Grey
  • 1.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo boost up to 3.9GHz)
  • 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
  • 128GB SSD
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645
  • Touch Bar (with Touch ID fingerprint scan)

Comes in original box, USB-C mains power cable. Includes balance of Apple manufacturer warranty until November 7, 2020, as well as Apple telephone support until February 6, 2020. Battery cycle count at time of writing is 33 – this may increase slightly as laptop in use.

Price:
£800

Note: Price dropped to £800 as another member pointed out another advert on here advertising a brand new/sealed unit for less than my original price of £1020. Also takes into account the 10% final value fee eBay would charge. This is my final price. I will not drop below £800.

Payment:
Cash on collection preferred.
Alternatively, I will accept bank transfer if you would like me to post it to you via courier delivery.
I do NOT accept PayPal or any other payment method. Please no offers of trade or part exchange.

Courier delivery:
Either you or I can organise courier delivery, with the cost of this added to the agreed sale price. Courier will be insured, tracked and will require a signature upon delivery. If I organise courier, I will provide the tracking information as soon as possible to you. For my security, I will record a video the laptop working, being placed into its box, packaged and sealed. I will include the original proof of purchase, as well as a receipt from myself to the buyer (in the form of a typed letter) which will include my signature.

Collection:
Collection will be from Aldridge (WS9 postcode), which is about 15 minutes north of Birmingham, and close to J7 of the M6. Collection location is covered by CCTV for both buyer/seller safety and is next to Aldridge Police Station. Buyer obviously welcome to inspect and test laptop.

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Zoom Chat update takes vendor further beyond video

Zoom has launched a Zoom Chat update that demonstrates the video-conferencing vendor’s ambition to become a one-stop shop for business communications.

Zoom has made the Chat messaging app suitable for a broader range of collaboration scenarios. The more extensive capabilities bolster the product’s role in the vendor’s portfolio, which also includes the expanding cloud calling service, Zoom Phone.

The two products, combined with the vendor’s flagship video conferencing service, show that Zoom wants to become an all-in-one UC provider.

However, to reach its goal, Zoom still has to catch up with rivals. The updates to Zoom Chat unveiled this week underscore that the product remains far behind leading messaging apps with regards to features and integrations.

Zoom added support for reply threads and emoji reactions. The former is an essential tool for keeping messaging channels organized. The app also now gives users the ability to send notifications to everyone in a channel, and for admins to use channels to make announcements.

Users’ profiles are another new feature, showing each employee’s location, department and job title. Colleagues can link to those profiles by tagging their coworker in a message using “@.”

These are standard features that leading apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams have long supported. Nevertheless, by steadily adding features, Zoom is making its portfolio more attractive to businesses that want to buy communications services from a single vendor, analysts said.

Zoom is trying to get businesses to use more of its products by encouraging its video customers to adopt Zoom Phone. But more aggressively pushing Zoom Chat would bring the vendor into conflict with Slack, a close partner. That’s a scenario Zoom executives previously said they wanted to avoid.

“A Zoom Chat app, integrated with Phone and Meetings, makes a great deal of sense,” said Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research. “I think it will be interesting to see how aggressive Zoom is in the next year with adding features and integrations to its own chat app.”

Zoom is now a telephony service provider in six countries through Zoom Phone, with a beta service available in 11 additional locations. Outside of those countries, businesses can power Zoom Phone using third-party telephony services.

At Zoomtopia 2019, the vendor’s annual user conference in October, CEO Eric Yuan said Zoom Phone was raising Zoom Chat’s profile within the portfolio. 

“The more we focus on voice, we need chat,” Yuan said at the time. “As we sell more and more phone systems, I think chat will be key for us as well.”

Meanwhile, Zoom on Thursday delivered a better-than-expected earnings report for the quarter, bringing in $166 million in the three months ended Oct. 31. Valued at roughly $19 billion, Zoom now expects to generate revenue between $609 million and $610 million in the year.

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Stepping into each other’s shoes leads to better online shopping and a newly innovative relationship for Mastercard and Microsoft | Transform

Mastercard and Microsoft walked a mile in each other’s shoes – or in an update on the old adage, spent three days hacking together – and came up with a new service to make shopping online easier and more secure around the world, not only for shoppers, but also retailers and banks.

The collaborative experience also kicked off a new way of thinking about innovation that promises to lead to even more developments to help e-commerce thrive.

New York-based Mastercard is a leading technology company in the payments space, processing about $20 billion in transactions a day across more than 210 countries or territories. And Microsoft is one of the top e-commerce merchants in the world, with online sales from the Microsoft Store, Xbox, Azure, Office 365 and more.

Both companies have felt an urgency in shifting toward online payments – especially with the increasing popularity of mobile apps and devices – that has made security more difficult even as consumers expect greater ease of use. So they brought together teams of engineers to tackle the issue at the recent Microsoft global Hackathon at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, headquarters.

man at table holding credit card and looking at computer screen“Both our infrastructures are used in creating online transactions, so we owe it to our customers to make them safe, secure and simple,” says Raj Dhamodharan, Mastercard’s executive vice president of channel propositions and partnerships. “Through co-innovation our customers benefit, because we’re solving a pain point that otherwise might take years to solve.”

The collaboration comes amid changing cultures at Microsoft and Mastercard that are being fostered from the top down.

“Both companies have shifted their mentality that by partnering and bringing in diverse thoughts, we build better products and work better together,” says Will White, Microsoft’s director of payments. “The benefit is you get true innovation from two companies that have radically different missions, in different industries, with different constituents.”

Mastercard provides payment services to Microsoft’s online stores, and Microsoft sells technology services back. So the Hackathon teams built on that symbiotic relationship and experimented with ways to securely store payment info, exchange credentials and authenticate identity with biometrics – using a PC to make a theoretical purchase of a game on the Microsoft Store as a trial.

Microsoft’s double role as merchant and tech company gave Mastercard engineers a better understanding of the challenges both stakeholders face, says Mohamed Abouelenin, Mastercard’s director of product development and innovation.

“That helped us push the bar in developing new services to help provide the best experience for consumers,” Abouelenin says.

It was the first time Mastercard had participated in another company’s Hackathon. The experience energized both groups and left them wanting more.

“I saw a big difference in my team when they got back, in how they approach their jobs and have a more customer-oriented perception of things now,” says Anand Mallepally, Mastercard’s vice president of cyber and intelligence solutions, whose group is based in St. Louis. Physically being together in Redmond was “a gamechanger” for the engineers as far as seeing situations from each other’s perspectives, he says. “I can foresee more and more innovative ideas now.”

A hand holding a credit card with a chip over a payment machineThat’s crucial at a time when chips on credit cards are stopping more fraud, leading criminals increasingly to focus on online forums instead, says Mallepally, who’s been working on fraud prevention and digital platforms with Mastercard for more than 12 years.

His team has to tread carefully, however, acknowledging that security protocols can bring friction to the shopping experience. Shoppers are turned off when they have to remember passwords or go through extra verification steps; retailers sell less when transactions take extra time; and the banks that issue credit cards incur extra expenses when they have to develop and implement new safety measures. So it’s critical to consider enhancements to improve the consumer’s experience, along with additional protections.

The situation is complicated by a new regulation Europe implemented in September that requires banks to communicate with the customer for two-factor authentication before online purchases – even for recurring charges such as monthly bills for utilities or streaming services.

The bank might send a code to a credit card customer’s mobile phone or email address, for example, and the customer has to type that in on the checkout screen before a purchase can proceed. That’s expected to reduce fraud but increase friction. It’s also expected to be adopted by other markets around the world, including the U.S., in coming years.

index finger resting on phone screenBut biometric authentication on mobile devices – such as a fingerprint scanner – has been approved to allow consumers to skip that step.

That got Microsoft’s White to thinking.

“How do we level the playing field between the mobile checkout experience and the PC checkout experience?” he wondered. “And why can’t we make e-commerce payments as fast and simple as we have in the physical world, where you tap or insert a card and you’re done?”

The Hackathon teams found an answer to both, with an extra measure of innovation thrown in.

They decided to leverage the infrastructure Microsoft already has with its Windows Hello technology, which allows 900 million Windows 10 users to access their devices with a fingerprint or facial recognition, instead of a password. Through their combined efforts, they came up with a new feature that screens the user’s biometrics again and then, as long as they match the Windows Hello identification, automatically authenticates the buyer and approves purchases. The new service will give banks and merchants the assurance they’re dealing with actual customers, and shoppers won’t have to go through additional steps to prove themselves.

And the solution can be used across many types of computers, laptops and tablets, without requiring people to own or use a specific device, as the mobile-phone offerings do.

woman on couch holding credit card and looking at computer screen“It’s a solution that neither Mastercard nor Microsoft could have done on our own,” says Matt Rossmeissl, Microsoft’s general manager for commerce engineering operations. “We each had to bring our own expertise to the table to get this done. They’ve got the relationships with the banks, and we’ve got hundreds of millions of Windows devices out there.”

Biometric authentication is built to make online shopping easier for everyone, but it will be especially helpful for those with disabilities, says Priyanka Banerjee, a senior program manager under Rossmeissl. Entering a code for two-factor authentication is a difficult process for anyone who’s blind, for example, or can’t use their fingers to type, especially since those codes are time-limited and expire quickly. But biometric authentication removes that friction.

“Microsoft is very focused on inclusiveness and accessibility, and that’s something that hadn’t yet been thought of in this scenario” by financial services companies, Banerjee says. “What we have built can be extended to those with disabilities, with no extra setup required, and we can make the experience of everybody better.”

The collaborative process is also helping to bring the concept to market faster. The Hackathon engineers were able to accomplish in a few days together what would have taken a month or more apart, says Mallepally.

“We created a prototype in only a week’s time, and I think that will change the relationship between us and Mastercard going forward, because we’ll be more willing to try new things and go do growth hacking,” Microsoft’s Rossmeissl says. “We have at least 10 conversations in parallel going on with Mastercard now.

“If you approach a challenge with an open mind and go into it thinking that what we produce will be better if we work together and leverage our unique independent strengths, we’ll find solutions to problems that could be far better than what we could have done if we’d tried to solve them ourselves.”

All photos provided by Mastercard.

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Author: Steve Clarke

New to Microsoft 365 in September—updates to Microsoft To Do, PowerPoint, OneNote, and more

Every update we make to Microsoft 365 is about helping our customers transform the way they work. And this month, we’re introducing updates and features designed to help you collaborate more effectively, work more efficiently, and protect your data more proactively.

We updated the conversation experience for Yammer mobile, so it’s easier to discover and share the content that matters most, and a new PowerPoint for iPad feature makes it (finally!) easy to share a single slide. The updated Microsoft To Do app keeps you productive on the go, and now you can export Visio workflows to Microsoft Flow—a great way to streamline business processes and save your organization money and time. Also new in September: automated incident response with Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) for more effective, efficient security.

What’s new in Microsoft 365

This September, learn how to build your business with Microsoft 365.

Watch the video

Collaborate, save time, and improve productivity with app updates

App updates streamline your mobile experience and help you conquer your to-do list across devices.

Join the conversation with beautiful new experiences for the Yammer mobile app—We updated the conversation experience for Yammer mobile, so you can connect, discover, and share in a way that’s easy on the thumbs and on the eyes. Highlights include a new card-based design that sharpens content, easy-to-read formatting and styling, a new grid layout for docs and images that makes it easier to preview and engage with multiple images or files, and link previews and inline videos right in the feed. To experience these improvements, simply update your Yammer app to the latest version.

Image of three phones side by side displaying a Group Conversation in Yammer.

Get more done with the new version of Microsoft To Do—This month, we unveiled a new version of To Do with a fresh design, access from anywhere, and better integration with Microsoft apps and services. You can choose from customization options and backgrounds (including dark mode) to tailor your experience and suit your lists. You can also sync To Do across all platforms to take your lists with you wherever you go. In addition, you integrate To Do with Microsoft 365 apps and services or have one centralized view of your tasks. Think of To Do as your new task aggregator—from Outlook to Planner and Cortana and the Microsoft Launcher on Android, you can now see your whole list in one place.

To get started, download the To Do app. And if you’re coming from Wunderlist, you can import your existing lists in just a few clicks.

Animated image of Microsoft To Do displaying a My Day to-do list.

Share, communicate, and collect feedback more efficiently and effectively

New app features let you share individual PowerPoint slides, stay on top of your notes in OneNote, and conduct more effective surveys.

Share individual slides and overcome public speaking jitters with new PowerPoint features—Sometimes you only need to share that one specific slide, and sending it via email or creating a separate file can be cumbersome. Now, exclusively in PowerPoint for the web, you can share a deck with a link to a specific slide. Just right-click the slide thumbnail, select Link to this slide, and copy the link.

Image of an individual slide about to be copied in PowerPoint.

We also released Presenter Coach in PowerPoint for the web in public preview. Presenter Coach uses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to give users real-time, on-screen feedback to improve public speaking skills. Rehearse your presentation and get helpful tips on pacing and using inclusive language, as well as avoiding filler words like “basically” or “um,” or developing a rote presentation style.

Stay on top of your most recent notes and adjust your color schemes in OneNote—Updates to OneNote allow you to take your notes with you on the go and personalize your experience. Recent Notes is now also available on Mac, helping you easily pick up where you left off on any device with a chronological list of pages you recently viewed or edited.

On iPad, we integrated OneNote with Sticky Notes, so you can surface your notes there and avoid toggling between apps. Finally, you can now switch to a darker canvas with the new dark mode in OneNote for Mac. All these new features are available now.

Animated image of a recipe being shared in OneNote.

Overcome language barriers in your surveys—The Microsoft Forms Pro app now offers the option to create surveys in multiple languages without having to merge separate documents. Multilingual support enables Pro users to reach a broader audience and helps respondents provide richer feedback by displaying questions in their preferred language. Beginning next month, you’ll be able to access multilingual support by clicking on the ellipsis in the top right corner and selecting Multilingual from the drop-down menu.

Animated image of a multilingual survey in Microsoft Forms.

Export Visio workflows to Microsoft Flow to quickly automate business processes—Designing processes quickly and automating workflows can help accelerate productivity, but it’s often easier said than done. Now you can easily create new automation flows in the familiar diagramming experience of Visio and seamlessly export them as a fully functioning workflow to Microsoft Flow. Built-in Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) stencils have sharing and commenting capabilities, simplifying development and collaboration. Once the workflow’s complete, you can publish it to Microsoft Flow with a single click. This capability is now generally available to all Visio Plan 2 users through the Visio desktop app.

Streamline IT management and security

New features simplify the management of corporate Android devices, making it easy to add Microsoft 365 customers and ensure endpoints and devices are secure.

Manage corporate-owned Android devices with Microsoft Intune—With support for Android Enterprise fully managed devices, Microsoft 365 customers can deliver a high-quality and feature-rich productivity scenario for employees on corporate-owned devices, while maintaining an extended set of policy controls over those devices. Intune support for Android Enterprise work phone management is now available.

To get started, check out our Intune documentation.

Image of three phones side by side setting up a device as a work phone in Microsoft Intune.

Save time when adding new employees to Microsoft 365—Adding and configuring new employees or freelancers to Microsoft 365 just got easier. Beginning this month, you can create and use a template to save time and standardize settings when adding people in the Microsoft 365 admin center. Templates are particularly useful if you have employees who share many attributes, like those who work in the same role and the same location.

Beginning this month, head to the Microsoft 365 admin center and select Users > Active Users > User Templates > Add Template.

Animated image of a user being added to an engineers list in the Microsoft 365 admin center.

Automate incident response with Office 365 ATP—We’re excited to announce the general availability of Automated Incident Response in Office 365 ATP, which applies powerful automation capabilities to investigation and response workflows, dramatically improving the effectiveness and efficiency of your business’s security teams. These capabilities are available to organizations with the Office 365 ATP Plan 2, Office 365 E5, and Microsoft 365 E5 Security SKUs.

Evaluate security products with ease—The new evaluation lab in Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection removes the challenges of machine installation and configuration. Security experts can verify a potential platform, familiarize themselves with the product, learn about new features, or use the lab environment for attack simulations.

The new evaluation lab is now generally available. To access it, select Evaluation and tutorials > Evaluation lab directly from the navigation menu.

Image of the evaluation lab dashboard in Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection.

Also new this month

  • The redesigned Outlook on the web is now generally available. The redesigned experience features a modern design, new and smarter features, and a faster framework.
  • Now generally available, Security Policy Advisor—introduced in public preview this spring—can examine your policies and provide recommendations to improve security.
  • Windows Virtual Desktop is now generally available, delivering a virtual, multi-session Windows 10 experience. Windows Virtual Desktop enables you to deploy and scale your Windows desktops and apps on Azure in minutes.

As always, every Microsoft 365 update reflects our commitment to improving the experience for you—so if you have feedback or ideas on how we can improve, don’t hesitate to let us know.

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Author: Microsoft News Center