Security, Exchange, Office, and more: The year's top Windows topics

From securing the Microsoft fleet to living in the Microsoft cloud, 2015 offered plenty of intriguing tech and incidents worth writing about

Security, Exchange, Office, and more: The year's top Windows topics

It's been a good year for technical journalists. There's been plenty to write about, both good and bad, especially when it comes to enterprise Windows. I've had fun doing it.

In case you missed them, here is a look back at some of the articles I most enjoyed writing over the past year:

"Prevent phishing attacks with OpenDNS, 'Minority Report'-style"

My first article of 2015 remains relevant. We're always looking for new ways to protect our environments, and DNS protection might be worth the investment at your organization. The ability to block threats at the DNS level can be yet another defense-in-depth layer as we face new attacks in the year ahead.

"Solution architect, reinvent yourself for the cloud"

IT professionals and solutions architects must stop sleepwalking into the cloud and instead look for a new career path going forward to remain relevant. It's worth considering becoming a cloud solutions architect (aka a risk mitigation architect). Simply because you are moving off your own infrastructure doesn't mean you should give up and let your cloud vendor (Microsoft or otherwise) do it all.

"Email security and spear phishing secrets of an ex-hacker"

This year, I had the pleasure of being on the same speaking program as famous hacker Kevin Mitnick. In this article, Mitnick shares his thoughts on protecting organizations from spear phishing threats and identity theft. What you don't know is that the very next day, I was targeted by a false spear phishing drill and failed it. Yep, I clicked the link! Embarrassing? Indeed -- but enlightening. You can train users extensively to protect against most attacks, but you also need technology in place to protect them when they fail. And we all fail from time to time.

"Exchange 2016:  You'll swear it's Exchange 2013"

In this article, I talk about the minimal number of enhancements and new features in Exchange 2016, which still feels more like a Service Pack than a new release. But that is all part of Microsoft goal of "cloud first" and the majority of their development creativity being put into Exchange Online.

"Microsoft Threat Protection may not be right for you"

I put a lot of effort this year into reviewing the new advanced threat protection (ATP) features that can be added on to Exchange Online Protection, the results of which can be found in this article. The upshot is that the features are lacking, and I explain why.  Definitely consider checking out that article if you are considering ATP.

"Bold prediction:  Microsoft will rule the cloud"

This was a fun one to write. Based off the purchase this past year of EMC by Dell, I decided to poke the haters and proclaim Microsoft the future king of the cloud, beating out all rivals. The responses to provocative articles like this one are always fun to read, as you might expect. It's not personal, just business. Microsoft is gaining ground in both the IaaS world with Azure and the SaaS world with Office 365. Of course, the mobile device and/or tablet world are a different story for Microsoft.

"Beware the Death Star flaw in Office 365" 

This year saw a few major outages for Office 365, and the one a few weeks back hit right at the same time the new "Star Wars" movie came out. Of course, there was an irresistible analogy to be made.

Side note (no spoilers): I saw the movie and liked it, but for those of us who already embraced the expanded universe view of what took place after "Return of the Jedi" it was a little difficult to rewrite that history and erase characters we've already become emotionally invested in. Somebody could have helped J.J. Abrams appease the true fans, those of us who read all those books. I mean, saying there is no Mara Jade is like saying there is no Ahsoka Tano. Am I right? (Use comments below to vent with me.)

Thank you to all who read my column faithfully (or sporadically for that matter). It's been a great year with plenty to write about. I look forward to seeing what 2016 brings in terms of new tech, solutions, and strategies from the world of enterprise Windows.