As many around the world celebrate Mardi Gras, take a moment away from pancakes, beads and other festivities to catch up on a couple of "fat" announcements in the Office 365 community!
MICROSOFT LEADS THE CLOUD BY COMPLYING WITH ISO PRIVACY STANDARDS
Microsoft’s clouds (Office 365, Azure and Dynamics CRM) have been certified to be in alignment with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards for protecting the privacy of Personally Identifiable Information (PII). This is actually a big deal, not only that Microsoft invested in attaining and certifying against ISO/IEC 27018, but also that Microsoft was the first to do so. Amazon hasn’t—at least not yet—and it’s difficult to imagine Google ever will, because one of the protections offered by the standard is that your data won’t be used for advertising. An Office Blog post announced the news, but you can find much better coverage in a post on the Press Pass site by Microsoft’s General Counsel Brad Smith. You should read Smith’s post to learn just what the standard means to you, your users and your business—it’s a clear indication that Microsoft sees security and privacy as “job #1.”
INFOPATH – THE NEXT CHAPTER
Cue movie metaphors of a serial killer who just won’t die, or, on the lighter side, Monty Python’s “I’m not dead yet!”
Microsoft recently announced that InfoPath Forms Services will be included in SharePoint Server 2016 and will be supported in Office 365 until further notice. This announcement extends the life of InfoPath Forms Services, which in early 2014 was flagged to be supported only through 2023, and opens up the possibility for organizations to migrate InfoPath Forms Services workloads to Office 365 and to the next version of SharePoint Server. To be clear, InfoPath is still “dead”—there will be new solutions put forward by Microsoft in the future—but it will continue to be supported (or on life support) for quite a bit longer than we’d expected.
This news caused enough chatter in the community that Microsoft’s Sonya Koptyev, Senior Product Marketing Manager on the Office 365 Developer Program, has stepped forward to host a live, in-depth look at the update, and what it means to you. Sonya will also take your questions about the update in an ask me anything-style event. Please join us for this fantastic opportunity to chat directly with her about InfoPath in SharePoint and Office 365. Register now for the live ask-me-anything with Sonya.
OFFICE CLOUD APPS BLAST OPEN THE STORAGE TIER
This news rocked the West Coast, from Seattle to Silicon Valley. Microsoft making its apps and services available to iOS and Android were long overdue. “Cross-device” is so 2011. “Cross-service” is where it’s at in 2015, and Microsoft just made a bold move that has shaken up the community, in a very good way. On Feb. 17, 2015, Microsoft announced that Office apps can now open, edit, and save documents on any storage platform. Microsoft teased us in November with integration with Dropbox. Now Box, Cisco and Salesforce CRM announced they’re the first of what will be a tsunami of partners who are integrating with Microsoft’s flagship productivity service—Office—in the cloud. Now, it’s not just OneDrive (or OneDrive and Dropbox) that can store Office documents and launch Office Web applications to view and edit those documents.
Office 365 Supports Storage on Box and Other Cloud Providers
This is to “cloud service” what “Office on Mac and iPads” was just a few days ago, but bigger. This is going to open up a huge opportunity for partners and for anyone who wants to render Office documents richly in a website or Web application. It also means businesses can choose their storage service based on whatever business requirements drive them, without sacrificing the premium browser and cross-device apps that power most business productivity today. In their announcement, Box did a great job of summarizing the “big picture” impact of this decision. It’s a good read.
This, my friends, is the new Microsoft of Satya Nadella. And I think this is only the beginning of what’s going to be an incredible year for Microsoft and its customers.