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Microsoft’s roundup from Ignite

Let’s round up the Microsoft announcements, as they held their Ignite event this week.  

Microsoft announced Intelligent Speakers, which is hardware with automatic speaker identification, transcription, and translation.  It works with up to 10 different voices in Teams.

Teams is also getting encrypted calls and end-to-end encryption, the ability to present PowerPoint in new ways, more dynamic views, and webinar support.     Teams Connect allows for shared channels, even across organizations.

Windows Server 2022 will bring Secured-Core to Windows Server, which is focused on firmware vulnerabilities.  These would bypass Window’s Secure boot.  

Finally, Microsoft Mesh.     This is Microsoft’s new platform for shared virtual experiences across devices.   The company calls it mixed reality, allowing you to use virtual avatars in virtual space.  Think a future version of Microsoft Teams.  

Unrelated to Ignite, let’s slip in another Microsoft story.   This week, the company warned about a China state-sponsored threat actor exploiting four previously undisclosed Exchange Server flaws.     Microsoft believes the hacking group is trying to steal information from US based organizations, from law firms to defense contractors, as well as infectious disease researchers and policy think tanks.  Huntress Labs has challenged Microsoft’s statements about the reach of the attack, and believe it is much more widely spread.  There are patches out for the problem.

Why do we care?

Let’s work tactically to strategically.   Most of you should already be aware of the Exchange issue.   In case you’re not, that’s my public service.   My strategic point here – this pain should make so many of you consider abandoning on prem Exchange.     Ask yourself really critically why you’re dealing with this issue.

Now let’s move to the larger Microsoft stuff.    The major announcements all show the investment in Teams and communications.  Short term it’s about making meetings better with the views and presentation modes, and you can see the longer vision in products like Mesh. 

The real business value here is in providers who help make this stuff not just work but be effective.      Company culture changes are the trick.    New data here – just 7% of large companies have digitally savvy executive teams.   But those WITH digitally savvy leaders outperformed peers on revenue growth and valuation by over 48%.      Just making those companies closer to that is the trick.

And compare that use of your time versus patching Exchange servers.