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Microsoft Plugs Data Leaks in SharePoint Online Update

The latest updates to SharePoint Online help businesses prevent data leaks and automate their SharePoint migrations to the cloud.

SharePoint Update

Companies that use SharePoint Online tend to keep some sensitive information on the collaboration platform. With the general availability release of the new Idle-Session Timeout Policy feature, Microsoft is helping businesses avoid the risk of data leaks and theft, which that can occur when devices are left unattended or are shared among multiple users.

The Idle-Session Timeout Policy feature is available now for both SharePoint Online and OneDrive, Microsoft's cloud-based file storage share and sync service. And as its name suggests, it enables organizations to automatically sign out users when SharePoint Online remains inactive after a predetermined amount of time.

"Session lifetimes are an important part of authentication for Office 365 and are an important component in balancing security and the number of times users are prompted for their credentials," stated Bill Baer, Senior Technical Product Marketing Manager for SharePoint at Microsoft, in a July 2 announcement. "Idle session timeout provides [a way for] an Office 365 administrator to configure a threshold at which a user is warned and subsequently signed out of SharePoint or OneDrive after a period of inactivity."

For businesses considering moving their on-premises SharePoint deployments to SharePoint Online on Office 365, Microsoft is enabling new levels of automation by embracing a tool that administrators running Windows environments will be familiar with.

The tool now supports Windows PowerShell, the command line shell and scripting language often used by IT workers to automate tasks. "With these new capabilities you'll be able to address scale migrations and deliver automated, programmatic migration solutions through the SharePoint Migration Tool," Baer said in a separate blog post.

Administrators can use a batch of new PowerShell “cmdlets”, or single-function commands, to create, start and add tasks to a migration session, among other actions. The complete list of new SharePoint Migration Tool-compatible cmdlets is available in this online support document.

The new capabilities follow last week's release of the Page Diagnostics Tool for SharePoint.

The Chrome browser extension helps users get down to the bottom of performance problems affecting Classic SharePoint pages hosted in SharePoint Online. In a cloud-first move, Microsoft is currently emphasizing client-side development on SharePoint, borrowing from today's modern web development techniques to enable cross-platform collaboration.


Although newer SharePoint content renders well on various PCs, smartphones and tablets, legacy pages can stumble a bit. The Page Diagnostics Tool for SharePoint runs older pages through a set of baseline rules, such as checking for large image sizes, alerts users when it encounters an issue, and points them to a support page that may help solve the issue.

Microsoft Teams Reporting for Government Duty

In terms of Microsoft's other major collaboration offering, the company announced on June 28 that Teams will soon be available to government users.

On July 17, Microsoft will begin rolling out the chat-based group collaboration app to Office 365 and Microsoft 365 for U.S. Government Cloud customers in stages. Microsoft's government cloud offerings conform to the tight data security standards imposed by federal and defense agencies. The rollout should be complete by the end of August.

Finally, the company released Microsoft Phone System Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams. It enables businesses that are using Teams for telephony capabilities inherited from Skype for Business to offer their users calling services using a third-party telecom provider.

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