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IoT, Office 365 and the Prime Position of STEM Kids in Australia

 

5 million new IoT (Internet of Things) devices will come online every day in 2016. How can companies join the party for a piece of this 50 billion dollars’ cake?

Come to Microsoft Innovation Centre in Brisbane (level 28, 400 George st, Brisbane) and join me to discuss:

  • The state of connected devices in Australia,
  • How can we use IoT and Office 365, and
  • Why Australians are in a prime position to lead the world in this area and the role of the STEM programs for kids is an important strategic move in the innovation agenda.

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Where Can I Download the Presentation Slides?

You can download the slides for this presentation here.

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I am Speaking at the Collab365 2016 Event

Once again I got confirmed as a speaker for the Collab365 Conference. This is one of the coolest conferences around from the people organizing it to the folks participating online. A single session can easily reach thousands of people, so you can imagine my excitement. And as a plus, it is always great being at Microsoft HQ in Redmond. Also a good time to reconnect with folks from the Office 365 team in their offices. (*cough*also visit the Microsoft store*cough*)

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My session is as usual around Office 365 Compliance and Data Protection and it is called: "Office 365 eDiscovery: DLP for your Business and Your Data".

Join the Collab365 Summit and watch the sessions, there is an incredible amount of brilliant minds and souls behind this event, doing this for the community at large.

Where Can You Get More Information and Watch the Sessions?

Go to http://collab365.events/collab365-summit-2016/ . You can also follow the twitter @Colla365 and the hashtag #Collab365

Also, who doesn’t love an opportunity to visit Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond Smile

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The Case for Privileged Access Control


Another day, another big data leak. Do you have a minute? Let's talk a bit about basic security and how even the “big guys” can have it wrong.

Since you're a young IT professional you hear the mantra that login credentials (username, password etc) should never be shared nor written in plain-text (Hello, TickeTek!!). So, why do we keep seeing these things in workplaces? Passwords for network shared on stick notes, handwritten in walls, displayed in big monitors for the sake of convenience…

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The answer is: Unfortunately, this is quite a common practice and worst coming from bad decision making.

The Weakness Stand

According to a report from Centrify: State of Corporate Perimeter about 50% of the USA and 1/3 of UK leaders believe it is easy for someone with old passwords to login into company systems.

Even considering that most of the companies have an off-boarding process for contractors, it can take up to a week to completely sanitize access rights and passwords to all the sensitive data once handled by those individuals. One week is enough time for anyone with ill intentions to go back and hack into systems. And that isn't a rare incident.

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Privileged Accounts: Free as in Free Beer

It gets worse. The report revealed that privileged accounts for systems, and network devices are being shared without any policies to protect them. 40% of U.K. IT leaders working for big companies (over 500 employees) said more than 10% of their staff have privileged access to data in some form.

This number jumps to 50% for small and mid-sized companies (less than 500 employees). Too many people with too much, unnecessary, power in their hands. We are talking about confidential and highly sensitive information kind of access. Rightly so, 62% of U.S. IT leaders believe their companies have too many privileged users. Look at this: Security Auditors guess Australian government database passwords on first attempt! That’s shocking!

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Cultural Differences?

Now one thing to consider. This report was done with 200 companies in the USA and 200 in the UK. One might think that a more liberal economy would pose a bigger risk to IT security systems. Truth is, it does not. The overall pattern is consistent across all groups in both countries. For example, around 50% percent of all companies involved in the study confirmed that their companies had a data breach. And the bad guys are there for the taking like sharks.

A Backup Always Work, The Restore Is What Fails

Almost all companies have some sort of identity keys in place but nearly half of them have monitoring, auditing or privileged identity management in place. Quite surprising, 1/3 of these companies don't have trained employees to respond to a data breach or how the accounts are used. They are simply given to folks and trusted they will do good with them. No wonder so many breaches happens.

The Disaster is a Decision

Often times we hear that a disaster is a series of small events that lead to a big event. It is very surprising that experienced senior managers and leaders on this day and age are still following bad decision making frameworks, yet admitting they do need to do a better job with their data. The quote "When a data leak happens, it is probably your fault" is becoming more alive than ever.

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How to Setup a Private Network Connection to your Office 365 ?

Here’s a question I get quite often during my compliance and data protection presentations. I thought about writing this post so I can easily redirect folks here. I am all about reusing explanations Smile

Is it Possible to Have a Secure Tunnel Connection to SharePoint Online? My Own Private Connection?

Yes, it is. Using Express Route. Not only to SharePoint Online, but to the whole Office 365. I would say, 80% of the time when folks are looking for this answer is because they are talking about a hybrid environment where they want to integrate their SharePoint on-premise with SharePoint Online and normally involved handling sensitive data.

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What is Express Route and What it Does?

ExpressRoute initially was an Azure-only solution that got expanded to Office 365. It’s goal is to establish a private and managed connection to Office 365. What it does is to provide a dedicated network connectivity through a private connection from their (users) network to Microsoft Azure or Office 365.

How Does it Look Like from a Helicopter View?

Here’s a simple diagram of how ExpressRoute can be used with Office 365.

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Will Having my Own Private Network to Office 365 Impact Performance?

Yes and No. Network performance will be as predictable as your own on-premises environments, it is up to you then to take care of your own network performance, of course. In some ways this is like having an Office 365 environment in your own datacenter.  One added benefit you will certainly have is that using ExpressRoute most Office 365 network traffic can be configured to avoid the public Internet, providing additional data privacy. And here is your answer for privacy and sensitivity concerns.

As usual, your data is still your data.

Who Are the Best Candidates to Use Express Route with Office 365?

Organizations that require a higher class, premium managed connectivity to the cloud. Governments also can use it. Actually Microsoft did this as a development of the famous Safe Harbour case issue.

What if my Company has Multiple Locations Across the Globe?

No worries. ExpressRoute offers something called “circuits” that applies the traffic to different geographic locations with redundancy and geo-resiliency.

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Explain a Bit More What these Circuits are…

OK, so these ExpressRoute Circuit are geographically distributed connections that delivers by default 2 active physical connections for high availability. The networking elements are still backed by Microsoft’s connection uptime SLA (99.9 %). On a cool note, as of today, Microsoft is the only public cloud provider to offer this level of guaranteed availability for the connection. An additional benefit is that if you have Azure applications, you can this same single ExpressRoute connection.

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How Do I Buy ExpressRoute?

There is no additional licensing costs to use ExpressRoute, however not everyone can guarantee these circuits for you, so you will have to work with the Microsoft Cloud Approved Providers. These guys can guarantee the premium network connectivity required by Microsoft and they have their own price list. Here’s a list of the MS Cloud Approved Providers for your query.

I Want It!! What Should I Do?

Network capacity plan. I mean, you are deciding to setup your own private connection to the public cloud, you’ve got to do your homework Smile Here’s a good link with some guidelines for your network infrastructure plan then contact one of the Approved Providers.

Good Luck. If you’ve done an ExpressRoute for Office 365 project, share your thoughts with the wider community. Love to hear from you.

See ya!

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From #AshleyMadison to #PanamaPapers : Office 365 is Bringing Sexy Back to Cloud Compliance and #eDiscovery

When a data leak happens and people are affected judicially, specially suing and being sued, this starts a very long, tiring and expensive process. eDiscovery is one of the most complex parts of the whole game.

In this session we will talk about what’s eDiscovery, how big companies do it, how expensive it is and how can Office 365 help you. So if you are around Brisbane, Australia on April 14th come and join us. Bring your laptops, tablets, iPads, mobile and we will do some demos and play some roles. It will be fun Smile

Where Can I Get the Presentation Slides?

 You can get the slides here.

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