July updates to Microsoft 365 include more security, better collaboration, and more

We're at the end of yet another month in 2019, and so Microsoft has taken some time to go over some of the changes made to its suite of products under the Microsoft 365 umbrella. The updates for July focus on security and productivity across many different services.

For starters, there was the announcement of support for FIDO2 security keys in Azure Active Directory (AD), which is now in public preview. The feature has been brought to hybrid environments in Windows Server preview builds as well. Microsoft is also pointing out that Threat and Vulnerability Management (TVM) is now generally available in the Microsoft Defender ATP portal.

For productivity, Microsoft introduced new features in Teams, including read receipts for messages, priority notifications, and revealed forthcoming capabilities such as Announcements for important messages and the ability to post a message across multiple channels. There are also new features for Firstline Workers, such as the ability to clock in or out using the Teams Shifts module or send messages to everyone with a specific role in the organization.

Outlook also got some new capabilities, with a new Quick Poll add-in to run polls via e-mail as well as a new way to find free meeting rooms more easily when creating a meeting. Meanwhile, Yammer got a Q&A feature to make helpful answers readily available, and Microsoft To-Do now lets users assign tasks to specific people in shared lists.

This month's updates also streamline IT management, starting with the new Desktop Analytics tool to help businesses be on the most recent version of Windows 10 while ensuring software compatibility without the hassle. Additionally, Office 365 services are now available from new locations thanks to datacenters in South Africa and the UAE.

Microsoft has also improved the experience for Office apps in virtualized environments, starting with better performance thanks to FSLogix technology. More improvements are coming, though, as Windows Server 2019 adds support for Office 365 ProPlus and OneDrive Files-on-Demand, and Microsoft also promised forthcoming performance improvements for Outlook, OneDrive, and Teams in virtualized environments.

Rounding out this month's updates, Microsoft announced that Teams will begin to be delivered to existing Office 365 customers, whereas it was previously only available for new subscribers. The firm also dropped the Online branding for Office apps on the web and recently announced OneDrive Personal Vault, a new folder in OneDrive that offers an additional layer of security.

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