There's a lot of product announcements every week -- and sooner or later, something gets announced that you'll want to know. Every Friday, we'll connect some of these newsy little dots and draw a picture as to what's going on with tech vendors and industry trends.
Security information is meant to be shared but many companies consider it proprietary however, Microsoft is partnering with Bitdefender, Lookout, and Ziften to extend the capabilities of Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). This partnership will enable ATP to identify and deal with security threats across macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android devices.
Microsoft has been embracing giving its customers the ability to manage devices on different platforms and with this capability they will be able to better detect when those devices have security related issues or infections.
Microsoft has made a lot of strides in developing the Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve its translation capabilities. From real-time translations on conference calls and in PowerPoint presentations they have now introduced the ability for Office 365 customers to translate Word documents into more than 60 different languages.
There are options for only translating a segment of a documents text or converting the entire document into another language.
This feature is already available for current Office 365 customers.
By the way, you are going to see this as a regular theme for these enhancements - shipped to Office 365 customers first and foremost. This is the new norm for productivity related services - see this week's Resume Assistant announcement for another example.
If you are a developer then you should be considering taking advantage of the fact that Windows 10 is on more than 50 million devices. Each one of those systems have the ability to interact with Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant, plus she is available on iOS and Android hardware through the Cortana app.
In addition, the recently released Harman Kardon Invoke brings Cortana to the world of smart speakers.
Right now the limited number of skills in the Cortana Skills Library are consumer focused. However, at the recently completely IT/Dev Connections conference in San Francisco a hackathon showed that digital assistants could be programmed to alert IT Pros and System Admins about errors on their servers and networks.
If you want to develop similar skills for Cortana then you can jump in with this technical article about building your first skill in a very short period of time.
When Microsoft began working on incorporating a BASH shell and the ability to run Linux distros right in Windows 10 it was an idea that was embraced by the community. It also continues to create shocked reactions across social media when users realize how easy it is to get these services up and running.
Both services received enhancements in the Fall Creators Update and these two articles will walk you through those improvements.
Here is another one of those services that is just for Office 365 customers.
FindTime helps you schedule meetings by using available free/busy data that might be available in your organization and then uses a voting process to allow all attendees to come to a consensus for the timing of the meeting. Once that consensus has been reached then FindTime automatically sends out the meeting invite for you.
Only the organizer has to be on Office 365 and have FindTime installed for this feature to work and the process works with any individual on any email account.
A full walk through of this process is available from FindTime support.
Flow is a very powerful tool, the closest comparison might be to If This Then That (IFTTT), but Flow uses the power of the Microsoft Graph and other Office 365 services. Using access to that data and tools detailed Flow's can be created to handle routine tasks that can be better managed in an automated process.
I sat in on a Microsoft Flow session back at Microsoft Ignite earlier this year and with its capabilities it puts IFTTT, a great tool for what it can do, to shame.
This article confirms the roll out of new Flow related features that will work for customers using Office 365 and OneDrive for Business.
Included in the new features is the ability to run a flow for a specific file stored in OneDrive for Business or to run a Flow on a stored folder.
This infographic shows several trends in small business that are expected in 2018.
Among the big take-aways is that many small business owners are looking to introduce new products and services, give back to their communities, and most feel like they have a traditional work week with a good work-life balance.
However, 25% responded that they feel unprepared for cybersecurity threats and that their biggest challenge is staying ahead of the changes that occur in tech so quickly.
If you are a company that provides a tech support solution for small business then you should be aware that 26% already pay for support services from a small local computer store (14% pay for that support at a retail location) but 32% ask family or friends for help. This is an area ripe for providing all inclusive support so the small business owner can focus on their own work moving forward.