Teaming up for Microsoft Teams?

Indira Ghosh, Marketing Executive

Microsoft announced Teams at an event in New York and launched the service worldwide on 14 March 2017.  The new tool for team collaboration is available to Office 365 business customers in 181 markets and 19 languages. Office 365 is designed to meet the unique work style of every group with purpose-built integrated applications. Are you Game for MS Teams?

What you Need to know:

500,000+ Organizations use Teams. 91 Fortune 100 companies use Teams. 44 Languages are Supported in Teams.150 Customers have 10,000 or more Active users.

What exactly is Microsoft Teams?

  • A “Super App” for people to communicate, collaborate and ultimately work.
  • A chat-based collaboration tool to help improve transparency across projects.
  • Boost collaboration and move faster from conversation to action.

Or Hand-picked top Microsoft Teams Features

  • Fully integrated with Office 365 – As another Microsoft product, Teams of course integrates beautifully with Office 365, which is perfect if you’re already using that for your business.
  • Participate in white boarding from afar with Microsoft Teams Rooms – Teams provides a wonderful meeting experience for those who can’t be in the room.  “content camera” feature—this technology will detect the whiteboard in the room, crop and frame it, and share the content with remote participants.
  • Keep your team secure – Get end-to-end security, administrative control, and compliance all powered by Office 365.
  • Collaborate live in real time – Complete work in real time with your colleagues as you chat together and work on files through Teams, rather than taking turns and emailing updates and having multiple versions of everything.
  • Collaborate with vendors suppliers and clients – You can even invite chat users from outside your organisation using their direct email. They will be tagged as ‘guest’ users, but this is a great functionality for communicating with vendors or other third parties.
  • Customisation for each team – It offers the ability for teams to customise the experience to meet their specific needs. Team members can create channels to organise conversations by topic.
  • Hub – Teams offers a common shared work space for various applications including PowerPoint, Excel, Word, SharePoint, Planner, Power BI and Delve.
  • Mobile Audio & Video Capabilities – Available on both Android and iOS, Teams provides an easy-to-use app that allows you to chat with your team via text, have a voice conversation or conduct video meeting.

How will businesses Benefit from moving to MS Teams?

  • Combined within Office 365 & MS Teams.
  • Smooth, business-wide call routing.
  • Powerful solution that supplants on-premises PBX systems.
  • One application for easier solutions and support.

This is an unbelievable amount of features, and really it doesn’t come close to covering just how useful and beneficial this will be for your teams at work. When it comes down to it, Microsoft Teams is a huge bonus for workplaces already working with Office 365 and supports all your collaborative needs with ease.

If you require a hand to setup Teams or Office 365 give us a call at 914-355-5800!

Computers Solutions East, Inc. Achieves the Distinguished Microsoft Silver Cloud Dynamics Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Competency

New Rochelle, New York – This April 2017, CSE achieved one the hardest Microsoft Competencies; the company had to accomplish difficult tasks through meeting performance requirements, sales goals and passing numerous exams across all staff, such as the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Sales Customization, etc.

In addition, this competency is not CSE’s first one; we have earned a total of 14 competencies from Microsoft! Eight of these competencies are Gold awards, and the rest are Silver. These competencies show a history of hard work and perseverance from our employees. At CSE, we always thrive to improve as a team and company overall, and to experience high perseverance, because with today’s technology we need to make our clients understand why CSE is the best choice possible for them.

To find out how we can help you to use Dynamics CRM go to

Awards and Accomplishments:

  • Winner; 2016 Partner of the Year Award (East Region – Renewal / Annuity)
  • Finalist; 2016 NY Metro Partner of the Year
  • Finalist; 2016 NY Metro Cloud Partner of the Year
  • Finalist; 2015 NY Metro Partner of the Year
  • Finalist; 2015 NY Metro Cloud Partner of the Year
  • Winner; 2013 East Region TOP VAR Partner of the Year Award
  • Finalist; 2013 Small Business Partner of the Year
  • Ingram Micro SMB 500
  • 5000
  • CRN MSP 500
  • CRN Pioneer 250
  • CRN Next-Gen 250
  • CRN Tech-Elite 250

Technology Solutions that Make Sense for our Business:

  • Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Sales
  • Microsoft Office 365 (Migration & Licensing)
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Deployment and Customization
  • Azure: Improve performance and consolidate resource, let Microsoft take care of your servers
  • Application Development: Websites, Quote to order automation, Netbook, Vendor XML integration with shopping cart
  • Fixed Monthly Contracts: 24/7 service with predictable monthly payment
  • Cisco Network and Telephone: WAN, LAN, VPN, Wireless and VoIP

Azure cuts prices up to 17 percent

Microsoft announced price reductions of up to 17 percent on the latest version of the popular Azure D-series virtual machines, Dv2 Virtual Machines. The cuts keep Microsoft’s longstanding commitment to make its prices comparable on commodity services like compute, storage and bandwidth relative to Amazon Web Services, writes Nicole Herskowitz, director of product marketing for Microsoft’s Cloud Platform team.

As part of Microsoft promise to deliver the best customer value on Azure, Microsoft have had a longstanding commitment to make Microsoft prices comparable on commodity services like compute, storage, and bandwidth relative to Amazon Web Services. In keeping to this commitment, Microsoft is announcing price reductions up to 17% on the latest version of the popular Azure D-series virtual machines, Dv2 Virtual Machines. Dv2 Virtual Machines sport 35% faster CPUs than D “v1” virtual machines and are based on the newest generation Intel Xeon (Haswell) processors.

The below table shows the price reductions using Microsoft US East 2 region as an example. The Dv2 price reductions will take effect early February and Microsoft will share full details on this page.

D1-D5 v2 10% 14%
D11-14 v2 13% 17%

It is worthwhile to note that the Azure Dv2 instances – unlike AWS EC2 instances – have load balancing and auto-scaling built-in at no additional charge. This means you get even more value from Azure. In addition to delivering great prices, Microsoft provide further discounting and more flexible purchasing programs to support your journey to the cloud.

  • For customers with Enterprise Agreements, you not only get price reductions like these, but also your price points are even lower – in many cases well below available AWS pricing – re-enforcing Microsoft commitment to be the number one enterprise cloud.
  • Unlike AWS, Azure virtual machine usage is billed on per-minute rate so you only pay for the compute that you use. With AWS you pay for an hour even if you only use a few minutes.
  • For developers, Microsoft provides up to $150 free Azure credits per month along with discounts for Dev/Test workloads through the Microsoft Developer Network program. Any developer will be able to get $25 free Azure credits per month for one year with the Dev Essentials program coming soon.
  • With the Azure Compute Pre-Purchase plan, you can receive up to 63% cost savings when you pre-purchase your virtual machines for one year.
  • If you’re moving a significant number of workloads to the cloud and are looking for great pricing with lots of flexibility, check out the Azure Compute option. With this program, you can run any compute instance in Azure and realize discounts up to 60% in exchange for add-ons to your Windows Server annuity licenses.

Prices aside, customers are using Azure for the value it brings. Customer are using Azure for its hybrid capabilities that enable existing on-premises environments to seamlessly bridge with the public cloud – a reality for the vast majority of organizations.  Azure customers are also using the rich set of services spanning IaaS and PaaS. Today, more than half of Azure IaaS customers are already benefiting by adopting higher level PaaS services – where Azure has always offered the industry leading capabilities. Companies large and small such as Towers Watson, BMW and are taking advantage of these application platform level Azure services to improve their business agility and gain competitive advantage. While Microsoft will continue to offer great low prices, Microsoft is even more proud of offering you a comprehensive cloud platform that helps you innovate faster, no matter where you are in your cloud journey.

Skype Translator Feature Now Available For All Skype For Windows Users

Skype Translator is reaching a milestone moment by completing roll out to all Skype for Windows customers!

This takes Skype one step closer to Microsoft mission of empowering people to do more, even across languages. Microsoft hopes that their customers can achieve their goals through relationships that would have previously been impossible.

Microsoft launched Skype Translator preview just over a year ago in partnership with Microsoft Translator. Skype Translator has come a long way since then and we wanted to share some fun facts to date:

  • French to English is the most popular language pair
  • The number of calls per day has increased 400% since launch
  • The top international Skype Translator calling corridor is Germany to Ghana

Through voice-to-voice translation, all of our Skype for Windows customers can now speak in seven languages: Chinese Mandarin, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Through text-to-text translation, our customers can now write in over 50 instant message languages.

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With the continued adoption of Skype Translator, Microsoft is working on rolling out new languages and platforms—bringing the translation feature to more Skype apps and implementing an even wider selection of languages. Microsoft is dedicated to continue the growth of this new chapter in communication which has enabled people to connect globally, for free.

To start using Skype Translator today, Skype for Windows customers click on the globe in the upper right hand corner of the app (shown below).

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If your Skype for Windows app does not have a globe, please ensure that your app is update to date by downloading the latest version. After that, you will be all set to wish family and friends around the world a happy new year!

Leading the way in the fight against dangerous email threats

A typical month for the Microsoft Office 365 Exchange Online Protection team might be considered a typical for most. In fight against spam and malware, Microsoft process over 200 billion emails each month and block 10 million spam messages every minute. That’s the norm for Microsoft’s malicious threat protection efforts—but Microsoft don’t stop there. As email attackers around the globe are getting smarter and more sophisticated, Microsoft is making big investments in Microsoft Exchange Online Protection and Advanced Threat Protection services to proactively identify and block the most dangerous email threats, with features like:

  • Built-in protection against malicious attack vectors, with spoof and common attachment-type detection.
  • Visible protection to end-users via Safety Tips to prevent users from interacting with detected malicious emails.
  • Rich learning mechanisms for users, such as Phish Reporting and Advanced Threat Protection.

Click Here to watch: Exchange Online Protection updates – Safety, Tips and more

New capabilities of Exchange Online Protection and Advanced Threat Protection

It takes constant vigilance to protect against external threats without disrupting end user productivity. That’s why Microsoft have introduced several new capabilities in Exchange Online Protection and Advanced Threat Protection, which help protect you from unknown external threats while providing admins visibility on targets within their companies and options for mitigating or eliminating attacks.

Dynamic Delivery of Safe Attachments — Last June, Microsoft introduced Advanced Threat Protection Safe Attachments to protect against unknown threats by detecting viruses in email attachments. After going through the standard Office 365 protection process of three anti-virus engines and multiple spam filters, an email with a suspicious attachment enters the Safe Attachment sandbox environment, which has a detonation chamber to analyze the attachment and determine whether or not it’s safe—a process that typically takes 5–7 minutes.

With Dynamic Delivery of Safe Attachments, Microsoft eliminated that delay by sending the body of the email with a placeholder attachment, while the actual suspicious attachment undergoes a Safe Attachment scan. Recipients can read and respond to the message, which includes notification that the original attachment is being analyzed. If the real attachment is cleared, it replaces the placeholder; if not, the admin can filter out the unwanted and potentially malicious attachment. Dynamic Delivery of Safe Attachments is now in private preview for Advanced Threat Protection customers and is scheduled for general availability this quarter.

Zero-hour Auto Purge — In the event of incorrectly categorizing an unread email as spam, malicious or safe, Zero-hour Auto Purge provides the ability to change that verdict. For example, if a message is delivered to your inbox and later found to be spam, Zero-hour Auto Purge moves that message from the inbox to the spam folder; the reverse is true for messages misclassified as spam. Now in preview with approximately 50 customers and available on demand, Zero-hour Auto Purge will be rolled out for all Exchange Online Protection global tenants in the first quarter of 2016. Admins will have total control over using this feature or not since Zero-hour Auto Purge can be disabled in the admin center.

Safety Tips in Outlook on the web — This Exchange Online Protection feature proactively gives user-friendly safety tips that help you decide whether or not to open an email. For example:

  • If an email is from a trusted sender, you are notified that it’s a safe message.
  • If you receive a suspicious or phishing email, the message states that it’s from an untrusted source.

The idea behind Safety Tips in Outlook on the web is to educate users by augmenting written notification of the message status by adding a red bar at the top of suspicious or phishing emails. This added visual cue provides an alert to protect you from a potentially fraudulent request or other suspicious action. Safety Tips in Outlook on the web will be generally available to Exchange Online Protection customers in the first quarter of 2016.

Protection against insider spoofing — Yet another growth area for “spoofers” is what’s called “insider spoofing” or “peer phishing,” when a phisher impersonates high-ranking company executives by spoofing the company’s email domain. The email looks like an internal email, making it hard for existing filters to identify as malicious. Fortunately, by built-in intelligence that leverages big data, strong authentication checks and reputation filters, Exchange Online Protection has strengthened its counterfeit detection by over 500 percent.

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Phish reporting — This new feature enables Outlook on the web users to report phishing to Microsoft by clicking the Junk pull down menu and selecting Phishing. The Report as phishing dialog is displayed and includes a link to learn more about phishing and gives you the option to send a copy of this message to Microsoft to help the research and improvement of email protection technologies by clicking the Report or Don’t report button. Microsoft hope this feature helps you better recognize phishing messages and report any that appear suspicious.

Office 365 - 2

Microsoft expects to complete deployment of this feature by the end of this quarter. In the meantime, you can report missed phish by sending an email with the phish message as an attachment to Microsoft new address.

Filtering common malicious attachment types — Microsoft heard our feedback and are pleased to provide an easy-to-use feature for Exchange Online Protection admins to filter out unwanted and potentially malicious attachments by their file types within the Malware Policy. This will help consolidate attachment filtering and action for malicious content, rather than addressing these issues through Exchange transport rules and malware filtering policies. Later this quarter, you’ll find the “Common Attachment Types Filter” in the Malware Filter section of the admin center under the Protection tab on the left and the Malware Filter tab on the top. From there, your choice is to edit an existing malware policy or create a new one.

These new Office 365 Exchange Online Protection and Advanced Threat Protection features reflect Microsoft ongoing commitment to provide the most advanced security, reliability and protection of your email as well as user education and a simpler and more efficient experience for admins. Microsoft are advancing the protection Microsoft offer to proactively protect you and your organization from external attacks.

CRM a Dynamic Tool for Sales Growth & Competitive Intelligence

You want to grow your business. You want to identify new markets. You want to exceed goals you didn’t even know you could come close to reaching.

You’ll find no better tool to getting the most from your sales staff, and create the ability to reach new markets and new performance highs than a properly employed customer relationship management – or CRM – software.

Let’s be clear. In some shape or form, every business uses a form of CRM already. Sometimes it’s an excel spreadsheet. Sometimes it’s a bunch of scraps of paper.

When a sales individual realizes they need to take a note about something – even name, address, key point in a discussion – it’s really their acknowledgement that they need some organization to their information management.

Quite frankly, the more organized a sales professional is, the easier the job becomes.

A properly employed CRM system saves a company time and money. It creates a system that puts a sales force directly in contact with prospects, leads and clients on a regular timely basis. It can even open the door to new inbound prospects, opening markets throughout the globe.

It detangles interdepartmental communication. Time and energy is lost when a sales department needs to depend on an accounting, purchasing or marketing department to turn over important information to progress a client’s interest or even close a sale. With a CRM database that integrates important information from multiple departments, there’s quicker access to information and a new understanding of the business on all fronts.

CRM system abilities have grown tremendously in recent years.  A Microsoft dynamics system now offers the ability to quickly research information about any company. Add on products allow for direct marketing via email, social media – or even document completion and development. A CRM system has become a one-stop catalyst of better business development.

Enhanced reporting processes can be built in that reflect the specific interests, benchmarks and trends of your specific business. And, as times change, reports can be updated to reflect new KPIs and other business interests.

The bottom line, is we’re living in a more complicated, more competitive business environment. It demands state-of-the-art attention to detail.

That means business needs to live with a CRM culture. CRM isn’t a one-time adoption, it’s the implementation of a powerful tool, rich in market and customer information that allows a user to reach their personal and business potential.

Major Update To Dynamics CRM Coming In Q4 – Microsoft

Microsoft began what promises to be a long road to the fourth quarter release of its Dynamics CRM product today.

The product has been completely redesigned, with the on-prem and cloud versions receiving major upgrades. It’s worth noting that while this is a major release announcement, the company has been making ongoing updates to the cloud version of the product. This announcement is simply the culmination of that work, while the on-prem users will be seeing these updates for the first time.

The latest version involves four main areas that Microsoft wants to emphasize in this release including productivity, mobility, intelligence and customer service. In an effort to keep the update in the news (presumably), it is providing details of each of these categories in the coming weeks, culminating in that general availability date in December.

Today’s announcement involves the productivity piece, which in typical Microsoft fashion relates to how well it works with other Microsoft products. Say you want to view a PowerPoint slide deck or an Excel spreadsheet, you can now do all of that without leaving the Dynamics interface, presumably making you more productive because you don’t have to switch between programs.

For example, a user could click a Microsoft Word document, review it, and then return to the CRM by clicking the back button. It’s not super sophisticated, but it is an effective way to move quickly between different applications.

This is great for the all-Microsoft, all-the-time shops, but a Microsoft spokesperson pointed out there will be connectors to other non-Microsoft programs as well, in keeping with CEO Satya Nadella’s directive on mobile-first, cloud-first and cross-platform compatibility. The mobile versions should work on iOS and Android.

Today’s announcement also included CRM for Outlook, which provides direct integration with the Microsoft email platform, where many sales people tend to live during the day. Again, keeping with productivity theme, this provides an easier way for busy sales people, who have been known to balk at updating the CRM database, to make updates in a more natural way.

Microsoft is integrating Dynamics with Delve, the tool designed to surface information that matters most to users. For a busy sales person, that could be information about the industries he or she cares about or the latest pricing data. Delve is an interesting tool, designed to push information to users, but it tends to focus on pulling information from Microsoft products.

The new version will also integrate with Cortana, the voice assistant in Windows 10, which will enable sales reps to use voice commands to interact with Dynamics.

The other announcements will become clearer in the coming weeks, but involve integration with the Cortana Analytics Suite announced at its Worldwide Partner Conference in July to bring machine learning and intelligence to the CRM tool.

The customer service piece involves making use of FieldOne, the company Microsoft bought in July.  The new tools will expand Dynamics to managing service or field reps out in the field.

The mobility piece will include offline access, which will solve a big problem around accessing a cloud-based application when there isn’t a connection available.

While the updates are a big leap forward for the product, the Nadella-led Microsoft was supposed to be about services working across platforms. The company is offering integration to non-Microsoft products through APIs, of course, but it seems to be focusing on keeping customers in the Microsoft environment.

R Ray Wang, principal at Constellation Research says this is likely by design. “Ninety-five percent of corporate America is using Microsoft [tools], so they are getting a ton of pressure from CIOs to integrate. We left a meeting last week where the CIO was annoyed the stuff just didn’t play well together,” Wang said.

This release is designed to address those concerns and is a “bit better” at it, he said.

To be fair, Wang says we are probably going to see more of this type of integration across a company’s tools from other vendors.

Microsoft Drops New Windows 10 Build Bringing Skype Integration, Edge Improvements

Windows 10 Build


Microsoft detailed a number of statistics relating to the performance of apps on its Windows 10 platform, alongside a new build of the operating system for its testing community.

According to Microsoft, more than half of visits to the Windows Store now come from Windows 10 users. Given the relative youth and market share scale of Windows 10 compared to Windows 8.x, it’s an encouraging statistic.

Microsoft also stated that Windows 10 generates twice the engagement and four times the revenue on a per user basis compared to its predecessor. Like Amazon, Microsoft is not releasing precise statistics, but, instead, comparative metrics that appear encouraging; we can compare this to Amazon’s past announcements about how its new Kindle is the best-selling yet and so forth.

Still, even carefully selected positive data can be useful. The above is predicated on the recently released figure that there are 110 million devices running Windows 10 today, which is 11 percent of where Microsoft expects to be in a year or two.

More engagement and more revenue implies happier developers. Or at least more piqued developers, I’d wager.

Build 10565

Also out is a new build of Windows 10 — build 10565 — which is out now for those in the company’s testing community who have signed up to receive new code as quickly as possible.

The latest build includes improvements to Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, to help the service understand notes that were handwritten on a screen. Ink, in other words. Given Microsoft’s focus on pen-based input, the addition is sensible.

In Edge, Microsoft’s new browser that will eventually fully supplant Internet Explorer, a new tab preview option lets users hover over a browser tab to see a quick preview of its content. Yes, this echoes past work the company has done on the Start Bar.

Finally, among the most interesting additions is the integration of Skype’s various communications capabilities into Windows 10 itself; Skype proper isn’t going anywhere, but Microsoft wants to take its tools and bake them into the operating system itself. (The shiver up the back of your neck is the specter of antitrust past, naturally.)

The Skype integration was previously promised, and Microsoft promised similar functionality for the mobile-edition of Windows 10 as well.

Microsoft has had a decent few weeks. Its hardware event went well, Windows 10 has failed to flop, and the company’s update cadence has so far, at least, beaten my expectations.

Exclusive Features: Windows 10 Enterprise

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Microsoft has been working hard to get the thoughts of enterprise users as to which operating system they would consider upgrading to. Since the announcement of Windows 10, it was expected that Microsoft will provide some exclusive features to its enterprise users.

Windows 10 Enterprise will have advanced features designed to meet the demands of medium and large sized organizations. It will only be available through volume licensing. This will allow the users to take advantage of the latest innovations and security updates on an ongoing basis. Enterprise users with volume licensing contracts and Software Assurance will also have the ability to upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise as part of their existing Software Assurance benefits.

Windows 10 Enterprise will also provide upgrade flexibility to IT administrators. With Microsoft’s Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB), IT administrators can delay the deployment of new features and upgrades to protect their mission-critical devices and environment up to 10 years.

Windows 10 Enterprise will also take away the fees from some software add-ons. Enterprise users with Software Assurance will have free access to Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) which is currently a paid add-on for users. Users will also have access to ongoing exclusive Enterprise features.

As for the downgrade rights, Windows 10 Enterprise users will have the option of downgrading to Windows 7 Enterprise or Windows 8.1 Enterprise.

Advanced Threat Protection for Email is Now ON

After its announcement in April, c now launched its new email protection to complement Exchange Online Protection (EOP). The new service is called Exchange Online Advance Threat Protection or simply ATP. It is a new email filtering solution that provides additional protection against specific types of advanced threats.

Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection delivers three key benefits to its users. First is the protection against unknown malware and viruses. ATP is equipped with Safe Attachment, a feature that extends EOP’s robust protection against known malware and viruses to the unknown ones. It also provides a zero-day protection to secure the entire messaging system.

The second benefit of ATP is the real time, time-of-click protection against malicious URLs. ATP’s Safe Links feature proactively protects its users against malicious hyperlinks. Attackers may hide malicious URLs with seemingly safe ones that are redirected to unsafe sites. No need to worry as Safe Links’ protection remains by dynamically blocking malicious links while users are accessing the good links.

Rich reporting and URL trace capabilities is the third benefit. ATP offers rich reporting that allows users to know who are being targeted in their organization and the category of attacks the company is facing. It also has URL tracing that allows user to track the malicious links that have been clicked.