Exchange 2013, Lync 2013, SharePoint 2013, and Office 2013 RTMs

by Manoj Chandrasenan on 14.10.2012 at 16:17

Exchange 2013 reaches RTM

Lync 2013 reaches RTM!

SharePoint 2013 reaches RTM

Office 2013 reaches RTM


Exchange Server 2013

These are some of the key capabilities that Exchange Server 2013 offers:

High Availability – Increased availability with automated Database Availability Groups (DAGs) focused on increased uptime.

Modern mobile and Web clients – Work from virtually anywhere on the browsers and devices including IE, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome as well as Windows Phone, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android.

Outlook Experience – Focused Outlook experience including a great tablet and mobile experience.

Compliance and Archive – Eliminate the need to buy and manage a separate archiving solution by allowing users to access an email archive from within their Inbox and equipping specialized users with eDiscovery tools. Provide every user a large mailbox so they do not have to worry about mailbox size limits.

Security – Protect your organization’s sensitive and confidential communications with end-to-end encryption of email messages – to both internal and external recipients.


Lync Server 2013

These are some of the key capabilities that Lync Server 2013 offers:

Multiparty HD Videos & content sharing – Lync Server 2013 provides High Definition resolution for attendees and provides a focused solution on video conferencing capabilities.

Modern mobile and Web clients – Single unified client experience across workloads. Lync Server 2010 and Windows 8 immersive experience optimized for touch and other mobile client experiences designed for the device in addition to a Lync Web App for browser access to meetings.

Integration across Office Apps – Communicate directly from within Office using a single identity and leveraging shared contact cards, and via integration with OneNote and SharePoint.

Federation with Skype – Communicate with anyone on Skype, providing Presence, Instant Messaging and Peer to peer voice.


SharePoint 2013

These are some of the key capabilities that SharePoint 2013 offers:

Cloud App Model – SharePoint 2013 introduces a Cloud App Model that enables to create apps, which are self-contained pieces of functionality that extend the capabilities of a SharePoint website.

Core platform enhancements – SharePoint 2013 has been improved and enhanced to support the new cloud-based architecture and app-driven development framework.

Social and collaboration – New and improved social and collaboration features make it easy for users to communicate and to stay engaged and informed. The improved My Site social feed helps users keep up to date with the people and content that they care about.

Search – Enhancements include custom content processing with the Content Enrichment web service, and a new framework for presenting search result types. Additionally, there have been significant enhancements made to the keyword query language (KQL).

Workflows – Windows Azure Workflow Manager Client is a redesigned workflow infrastructure that is built on Windows Workflow Foundation 4 and brings new power and flexibility to workflow authoring in SharePoint 2013.

Enterprise Content Management – Support for .NET client, Silverlight, Windows Phone, and JavaScript APIs, in addition to the newly expanded set of .NET server managed APIs.

Business Connectivity Services – OData connectivity, external events, external data in apps, filtering and sorting, support for REST, and others.

Application services – Machine Translation Service, which translates sites, documents, and streams for multilingual support, as well as Access Services and a new data access model. For converting files and streams to other formats, SharePoint Server 2013 has Word Automation Services and PowerPoint Automation Services.  SharePoint also provides data analysis tools, like Performance Point Services and Visio Services that enable business intelligence, and powerful new features in Excel Services.

Security Compliance Manager 3.0 now available for beta download.

by Manoj Chandrasenan on 14.10.2012 at 13:04

New baselines for securing Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 environments now available for beta review.

Security Compliance Manager 3.0 (SCM 3.0) is now available for download.

 SCM 3.0 is a free tool from the Microsoft Solution Accelerators team that enables you to quickly configure and manage both desktops and servers using Group Policy and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager.

In addition to key features from the previous version, SCM 3.0 offers new Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, and Internet Explorer 10 security baselines.

Join the beta now.

Secure your environment with new product baselines for Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, and Internet Explorer 10. The latest version of SCM offers all the same great features as before, plus an enhanced setting library for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 2008 R2 and bug fixes. The updated setting library gives you the ability to further customize baselines, and also improves GPO Import feature affinity. SCM 3.0 provides a single location for creating, managing, analyzing, and customizing baselines to secure your environment quicker and more efficiently.

To learn more about the Security Compliance Manger tool, visit the TechNet Library.

SCM 3.0 provides ready-to-deploy policies and DCM configuration packs that are tested and fully supported. Our product baselines are based on Microsoft security guide recommendations and industry best practices, allowing you to manage configuration drift, address compliance requirements, and reduce security threats.

Easily configure Windows operating systems, Microsoft Office applications, and Internet Explorer with industry leading knowledge and fully supported tools.

Next steps:

Join the SCM 3.0 beta. Click here to join the beta and get the latest version of the tool.

Tell us what you think! Test drive the beta release, and send your constructive feedback to We value your input; this is the perfect opportunity to be heard.

Tell your peers and customers about Security Solution Accelerators! Please forward this to anyone who wants to learn more about security and Microsoft Solution Accelerators.

Already using Security Solution Accelerators? We’d like to hear about your experiences. Please send comments and suggestions to

Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) Updates

by Manoj Chandrasenan on 19.05.2011 at 17:01

Post TechEd North America there has been some interesting update on Windows Phone 7.5(Mango) relevant to enterprises. Full details here

Currently, Windows Phone 7 does not allow customization of the phone to a specific organization needs. However 3rd party developers can write applications that are specific to their organization.

Windows Phone provides functionality to configure the phone thru EAS policies. The supported policies are documented in a technical article in the blog here (Link) there are no policies that prevent users from downloading certain applications to the phone.

A quick glance at some of the new features coming out with Mango:

  • Bing Audio: Shazam-style audio track recognition
  • Multitasking for third-party apps, deeper integration with live tiles
  • An overhauled Live Tile system (Details)
  • Internet Explorer 9, support for HTML 5
  • Bing Vision: Integrated scanning for barcodes, tags, text, etc.
  • Voice recognition for drafting text messages
  • Email folders pinnable to the start screen for quick access
  • Facebook Chat and Windows Live Messenger integration
  • New conversation view for email exchanges
  • Ability to search email servers for archived messages
  • New Lync app for Windows Phone (IM and presence)
  • Support for complex passwords (alphanumeric)
  • Information rights management support for protected emails and documents
  • Ability to access hidden corporate WiFi networks
  • Native podcast search and download in the Windows Phone Marketplace
  • Integrated turn-by-turn directions
  • The ability to send SMS text messages to preset groups of contacts
  • Integration of Office 365 and SkyDrive in the Office hub
  • Overhaul of the Games hub, with an auto-sync feature
  • Twitter integration into the Windows Phone People hub
  • The ability to quickly search for installed apps by keyword
  • Access to motion sensor and camera by third-party apps

Read more here.

And hey stay tuned for more new features (Skype integration, maybe Smile ) in Mango.

99% of Android phones leak secret account credentials

by Manoj Chandrasenan on 17.05.2011 at 17:49

Interesting read on the vulnerabilities in Google’s smartphone OS, Android that allow adversaries to steal the digital credentials used to access calendars, contacts, and other sensitive data stored on their servers.

After a user submits valid credentials for Google Calendar, Twitter, Facebook, or several other accounts, the programming interface retrieves an authentication token that is sent in clear-text. Because the authToken can be used for up to 14 days in any subsequent requests on the service, attackers can exploit them to gain unauthorized access to accounts.

With more than 99 percent of carriers offering their users Android versions with known security weaknesses, the report demonstrates how little success Google has had in getting its partners to upgrade to the latest versions.

Read more here.

Microsoft Virtual Academy on Cloud Technologies

by Manoj Chandrasenan on 14.05.2011 at 00:09

Microsoft Virtual Academy – MVA is a fully cloud-based learning experience focusing on Microsoft Cloud Technologies. You can access a variety of training content online and become one of the renowned experts in the IT Pro community around the world.

MVA provides its users with a virtual university experience: the student can select a course and study the material and then do the self-assessment. By doing so, he will collect points that will promote him to a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum Level. Students on MVA can get access to all the information, statistics and advancements of their training career, allowing them to maintain a long-term relationship with Microsoft.

Learning through MVA is free of charge, and you can study the contents at any time and at your own pace.

The MVA platform is hosted on the latest Microsoft Azure technology, which guarantees that your learning experience will flow uninterruptedly for the best online learning experience ever!

For more information, please visit:

Four questions every CEO should ask about IT

by Manoj Chandrasenan on 11.05.2011 at 20:21

Recently I came across a fantastic article in the WSJ on Tuesday April 26, 2011 titled “Four questions every CEO should ask about IT” by Jeanne W. Ross and Peter Weill. I recommend everyone take a look at it. Here is a brief synopsis.

The four questions are:

1. “Are we using technology to transform our business, or are we just adding bells and whistles to existing processes?”

2. “Are you ignoring important business differences as you standardize processes across the company?”

3. “Who is making sure the company’s digital strategy is being implemented?”

4. “Is electronic data empowering your people or controlling them?”

I have been pointing this article to some of my customers and kind of agree on the points here especially the first where, sometimes it is more effective to change or move on rather than just trying to add more features…..the question is when and how do we come to know about it.  Well, in simple terms measure IT, If you can’t measure it then you can’t change (and manage) it and you should only change it if the measurements indicate the need to do so.

It is a kind of challenging when an organization says, “we want to upgrade to xx version of a software, because it is the latest” and when I ask why and what benefit will this provide to your business, I normally see a deer staring at a headlight. 

Microsoft Premier Services

by Manoj Chandrasenan on 09.05.2011 at 20:55

My first post, thanks Shijaz for helping me out with setting this up. Thought where else to start than to write about the team wherein I work in Microsoft, that is the Microsoft Premier Services.

Microsoft Premier Services is a highly customizable support offering from Microsoft, encompassing a comprehensive selection of support resources to choose from, including proactive prevention resources, infrastructure support, workshops, problem resolutions, IO capability and IT process maturity assessment and roadmap.

With Premier Support, you gain a dedicated resource who is your eyes, ears and voice within Microsoft; the Technical Account Manager (TAM). Working with you, your TAM will:

  • Develop an understanding of your Business and Technology requirements and design a unique service delivery plan.
  • Proactively facilitate support services and resources to help mitigate issues in  your unique Business applications and IT Infrastructure.
  • Engage appropriate knowledge transfers and workshops by Microsoft resources to increase the skills of your IT staff on the current and upcoming technologies to help them better manage and monitor in your IT infrastructure.
  • Assess your IO maturity and help move move up the IT capability ladder.
  • Assess the IT process maturity of your organization and plan to improve your processes around ITIL and MOF.

Predominantly the focus of Microsoft Premier Services is to identify and address potential problems before they occur, thus reducing the risk of downtime and interruption to your business.  This in turn benefits you with increased system availability and uptime that keeps you end users productive and make IT a strategic asset to your business than a cost center or liability.

The result? Lower risk to your IT infrastructure, higher productivity and maximum benefits from your existing IT investments and better alignment of IT to business capabilities.