As our company has continued down the path of extending our own usage of Office 365 we recently decided to implement Mobile Device Management for Office 365. Since all of our clients have very keen interest in security we figured it only made sense to implement as many of the security features in Office 365 that our clients would also be focused on.

As we noted in our recent post, How to Keep your Company Files from Walking Out the Door

MDM is a very valuable component of your security policy as it relates to your employee's mobile devices. It provides 2 really key features that all companies will find incredibly valuable:

  1. The ability to keep your employee from connecting to your corporate IP with any mobile device that has been jailbroken since these devices leave themselves and ultimately your company open to the considerable threat of external attacks.
  2. The ability to either process a full wipe or a selective wipe of any device that is under your firm's MDM management. This means that if a mobile device is lost or stolen you can immediately remove all your company's IP from the device which again is key to security. The full wipe which your employee may prefer in the lost or stolen scenario will also ensure none of their personal info is available to the person who has their device.

As we progressed beyond MDM to start experimenting with the combination of MDM with other Office 365 applications like One Drive / SharePoint Online we started to discover some significant changes that Microsoft has made to how their file storage and sharing system is setup. In the latest version of One Drive Microsoft has now eliminated any differentiation between One Drive and One Drive for Business as well as SharePoint. The Next Generation Sync client now syncs all of the files related to your Microsoft Account regardless of which platform the files are from. Ultimately this strategy makes complete sense. You still have the ability to selectively decide which files you want to synchronize or not, but now you have the key advantage of not having to maintain separate versions of the sync client for your personal one drive versus your business one drive assuming they are registered under the same Microsoft User Account. Of course with any Microsoft update, some pain must also be incurred. In this case, Microsoft has no easy way to allow you to migrate the folders that were previously synced to SharePoint Sites with the New OneDrive folder setup. What this means is that you will need to repeat the process of setting up the sync client for all the folders you want to sync locally and you will also need to disconnect the old SahrePoint folders and then delete them once you have setup the new sync folders with the Next Generation Sync Client.

In the latest version of One Drive Microsoft has now eliminated any differentiation between One Drive and One Drive for Business as well as SharePoint. The Next Generation Sync Client now syncs all of the files related to your Microsoft Account regardless of which platform the files are from. Ultimately this strategy makes complete sense. You still have the ability to selectively decide which files you want to synchronize or not, but now you have the key advantage of not having to maintain separate versions of the sync client for your personal one drive versus your business one drive assuming they are registered under the same Microsoft User Account. Of course with any Microsoft update, some pain must also be incurred. In this case, Microsoft has no easy way to allow you to migrate the folders that were previously synced to SharePoint Sites with the New OneDrive folder setup. What this means is that you will need to repeat the process of setting up the sync client for all the folders you want to sync locally and you will also need to disconnect the old SharePoint folders and then delete them once you have setup the new sync folders with the Next Generation Sync Client.

Of course with any Microsoft update, some pain must also be incurred. In this case, Microsoft has no easy way to allow you to migrate the folders that were previously synced to SharePoint Sites with the New OneDrive folder setup. What this means is that you will need to repeat the process of setting up the sync client for all the folders you want to sync locally and you will also need to disconnect the old SahrePoint folders and then delete them once you have setup the new sync folders with the Next Generation Sync Client.

It is important to note that the sync client like the previous version is still a bit buggy and will crash from time to time. However, it seems to restart itself and resume working correctly whenever it does go down. In addition, this new sync client does appear to work much more quickly which is probably the best part of the new sync client.

In summary, the Next Generation Sync Client from Microsoft does appear to be a major enhancement to Microsoft's overall push to take over the File Storage marketplace from vendors like Box.com and Dropbox, or your old school network drives.  The ease of use and efficiency of the application is certainly superior to the prior versions. However, you must go into this update with the understanding that these key steps must be taken:

  1. You will need to manually disconnect your old SharePoint sites and delete those folders if you had this already setup.
  2. You will need to manually setup on the Next generation Sync Client all the folders and files you want to sync again.

To learn more about FinServ Consulting’s Office 365 and Microsoft related services, please contact us at info@finservconsulting.com or (646) 603-3799.

About FinServ Consulting

FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks, and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.

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