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Picture: Thomas Carpe
  • Thomas Carpe
012/22/2016 4:55 PM

​This answer was given in response to a client asking:

"Regarding the phones, what are the pros and cons of getting a dedicated handset, like the Polycom VVX 500 for instance, versus a USB speaker phone (Jabro Speak 410) and headset (Jabra Pro930) combo? At my previous employer, this is the set-up everybody had, and it worked out pretty well once people got used to not having a keypad, etc. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts since you are using the handset I believe. "

Also, they wanted to know where to get a list of approved phones.

First, here’s the Microsoft’s Launch Page for the master list of Skype for Business compatible devices of every type. You’ll find links at the bottom of each section after clicking the big square at the top to choose the type of device.

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/dn947482.aspx

The customer is correct that I own a Polycom handset. It was a gift from a customer, and an older model. It plugs into my PC via USB and I can even pick it up in the middle of a call to switch from my hands free set-up of PC mic and speakers to the handset.

My only issue with the USB phones is that they rely on your PC in order to work. So, for example, the other day I was wrapping up a call with a client and my PC had the “blue screen sad face of death” and the call was disconnected. No harm done that time, but if it had happened at a different time it might’ve affected business. Not to mention that some PCs crash more than others based on drivers, updates, etc.

So, the standalone phones are more expensive, but I was considering an upgrade myself, and it might be worth it for you too if you make a lot of calls where being interrupted would be problematic.

Then again, cell phones get dropped all the time, so who can say this isn’t just totally accepted nowadays. You could save a few bucks and stick with the USB models.

As for the choice between a handset and a headset, that’s clear enough. If you need to use the computer (especially the keyboard) while talking on the phone, then go with a headset. Or, you can just use the speakers and mic arrangement like I have if room noise isn't a problem for you. (My office is more or less private, but there are times when I have to chase people away to make a call.) If it’s more important to have some (limited) freedom of movement, speakerphone, etc. then the standard phone is probably best instead of a headset.

Hope this helps anybody trying to decide which option will work best for them.

12/22/2016 4:55 PMNoOffice 365
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12/22/2016 3:46 PMExpert
  
Picture: Thomas Carpe
  • Thomas Carpe
012/22/2016 4:46 PM

​This is copied from an advisory e-mail sent to a client. Are you using or evaluating either of these? Please feel free to add your comments below.

In Office 365 / Exchange Online, there are basically two ways to send a secure e-mail.

Option 1: S/MIME

Once configured, this is transparent to the user.

Benefits: Signs and encrypts *all* mail send from Outlook or OWA. No action or special behavior needed from the user.

Drawbacks: Requires certificates, which may cost extra. Takes a while to order and download a cert then configure in Outlook as a purely manual process. Thus, it can be costly to scale for a large number of users.

Requires a certificate. Can be acquired for free from Comodo (for personal use); though they have a cheap $15/yr business certificate too. I have no idea if/when they will call fair use if you start creating 100+ certificates for the same domain.

There is a change needed to Exchange Online to add the certificate authority, and a somewhat complex configuration process in Outlook. Probably takes about 15 minutes per user, so you’d be looking at 3 days of grinding to configure all users.

Option 2: Encrypted Messaging

This works like ZixMail - only it costs a lot less!

User adds a specified keyword to the subject of the email, e.g. “Encrypted Message”. The system picks up on that and encrypts that communication and all subsequent replies to it.

Benefits: easy to set up; relatively easy to use. Can be done for all users in under an hour. Does not require certificates.

Drawbacks: Requires the user to use the subject phrase to initiate encryption; doesn’t automatically encrypt all messages. The user might accidentally use the phrase that triggers encryption if you don't choose it carefully. 

12/22/2016 4:46 PMNoSecurity
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12/22/2016 3:46 PMExpert
  
Picture: Thomas Carpe
  • Thomas Carpe
012/22/2016 3:46 PM

​This week I finally decided to bite the bullet and enable "new experience" for all the sites and lists in our SharePoint intranet after holding back for a while due to a variety of reasons. There definitely seem to be some advantages to it, but also a lot of drawbacks as it seems to hide certain core SharePoint functionality and also breaks many existing customizations and apps.

I am curious to know if you have an opinion about the new experience, either as a SharePoint user or admin. Do you love it or hate it? Does your company have a policy about its use?

12/22/2016 3:46 PMNoSharePoint
0
12/22/2016 3:46 PMExpert
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  • Thomas Carpe
112/22/2016 3:46 PM
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  • !Ediscovery Admin
112/22/2016 3:22 PM
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