Office 365's brand-new apps: Planner and advanced security

For users, Office Online now has a workflow manager; for IT, Office 365 now has Advanced Security Management

Office 365's brand-new apps: Planner and advanced security

Microsoft continues to evolve Office 365. Among them are the new Planning tool, which had been in beta since December, and Advanced Security Management tool, which has hot, new features.

Planner is a team-planning and collaboration tool that uses visual dashboards to let teams create new plans; organize, assign, and collaborate on tasks; set due dates; update status; and share files. Users with an eligible subscription plan (E1 through E5, Business Essentials, Premium, and Education) will automatically see the Planner tile appear in the Office 365 app launcher in their browser; Office 365 admins don't need to enable this new online app.

Planner can be great for driving better productivity because it can provide clear way of seeing the progress of your team, for organizations that don't already have such tools in place.

On the security side, Advanced Security Management (ASM), offers some user behavior analysis through anomaly-detection policies. Office 365 can watch your users for any odd behavior based on 70 indicators -- for example, if a user account is signed into thousands of miles apart at about the same time or if their document download rate has suddenly jumped from a handful a day to hundreds.

It can also check for failed login attempts, third-party connections, and other red flags that you configure through policies. It generates a risk score that IT can use to determine what (if any) action should be taken.

ASM also has an app discovery dashboard, which can detect about 1,000 applications in your environment without IT needing to install anything on users' systems. This feature will let you identify the apps that users have installed outside your sanctioned app portfolio, so you can bring some of the shadow IT action into the light.

ASM is included at no extra cost in the E5 plan, Office 365's priciest plan. It costs $3 per user per month if you want to add it to other plans. Keep in mind that ASM is still a work in progress, so more features are coming.

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