Microsoft Stream – an Office 365 Video Replacement

Microsoft recently announced Microsoft Stream – a video sharing service for Microsoft users.  As some of you may know, Microsoft already has a video application called Office 365 Video.  Stream builds on what Microsoft learned from Office 365 Video, creating a more engaging, secure, and efficient place to store and collaborate with videos.  Stream will eventually be replacing Office 365 Video, but for now Office 365 Video is here to stay, according to Microsoft.

Video is the most consumed content type on the internet today.  Consumers and employees need to be able to share content in an efficient way that can help make people more productive.  This is exactly what Stream does.  Stream has been designed to provide more of a “consumer-like” experience with a simple sign-up and plenty of sharing capabilities.  This article will review some of the features/capabilities of Stream and will include some of Microsoft’s plans for Stream in the near future.

Stream is currently in a preview phase, but it is possible to start learning about it today.  To use Stream today, go to https://stream.microsoft.com/en-us/ and sign-up!  You just need a business email address, no credit card is required.  Once you sign-up, you will be in the Microsoft Stream portal where you can view and add content by dragging and dropping or selecting a file.  The screenshot below displays what it looks like to upload a video:

upload-video-microsoft-stream-xgility-blog

Stream offers some similar features to YouTube, such as using machine learning to find content that is most relevant to you and what you view/search for.  Stream will also work on all of your devices from anywhere, at any time.  When uploading content, you can manage who has permission to view your video by selecting private, public, or you can share to certain channels, etc.  Once you have uploaded a video, you will also have the ability to like, comment, and share them.  Below is what a homepage on Microsoft Stream looks like:

microsoft-stream-videos-xgility-blog

What makes Stream unique is that it’s tightly integrated with Microsoft, so it treats videos just like any other enterprise document.  You can set specific access, enable/disable external sharing, etc.  IT Managers can also control what their users have access to and what they don’t.  Many more features will come as Stream becomes more developed over-time.

In addition, Microsoft announced some features that will be coming to Microsoft Stream in the future.  First, Stream will eventually offer Live videos for corporate broadcasting purposes.  For example, if the executives at a large firm want to make a company-wide presentation on some new services that they plan to offer, they can create a Live video stream for their employees to view on Microsoft Stream.

Second, Microsoft mentioned that they may be adding the ability to search within videos using capabilities such as audio transcriptions and face detection.  This could potentially change the way we use videos.  For example, if your company creates videos to help your newer employees learn more about the services you offer, they will be able to search not only videos, but the words or people used inside of the videos themselves.  This would make employees/consumers much more productive.

Third, Microsoft will eventually integrate Stream with their other business applications such as PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, SharePoint, and more.  This will allow users to create powerful apps and workflows around their videos in Stream.  Lastly, developers will eventually be given access to the Stream API so they can build new apps on top of it.  This will most likely be used for embedding videos.

 

We are all excited to see how Microsoft Stream will help make our organization more productive when watching and sharing video content.  Check out Microsoft Stream and let us know what you think.

You can learn more about Stream or watch an intro video here.  If you have any questions or would like a demo, contact us.

 

 

Author:  Alex Finkel

Editor:  Kurt Greening

Does Our Government Contractor Need to Move to Gov-Cloud?

If you work in the DC Metropolitan area, you are aware that there are thousands of companies who serve the needs of the Federal Government.  If you doubt these numbers, FOIA lists contractors in SAM.  Government Contractors often have to adhere to many of the same security and compliance standards of the Federal Government, especially when accessing, sharing, and storing sensitive or classified material.

GAO has released guidelines for government contractors including, but not limited to, having a business continuity plan, virus protection, encryption, and using two-factor authentication.  Requirements for two factor authentication are pushed down to defense contractors through three DFARS clauses.  The DFARS clauses require defense contractors (and all of its subcontractors) that possess or transmit controlled unclassified information from DoD to fully implement NIST 800-171 and provide the DoD CIO with a certification memo.  The requirement for 2 factor is imbedded in the controls in 800-171.

We expect these requirements to continue to become more stringent as the Federal government evaluates cyber security risks and our enemies target government contractors.  Many small and medium government contractors have found that the cloud can be both more cost effective and more secure.  As government contractors evaluate the move to the cloud, many have asked us which cloud?

Microsoft built a Government datacenter for Office 365 and Azure services for .gov agencies, but government contractors with commercial .com were not allowed to use those services without a letter of approval from a government agency.  Most agencies were reluctant to provide that letter unless the contractor was a building a SaaS application that would host government data.  As contractors assisted agencies in the migration to the FedRAMP approved services, contractors wondered how this could impact their internal cloud migration and relationship with their government customers.  Contractors no longer need to worry because Office 365 Enterprise and Microsoft Azure are now in scope for FedRAMP at the Moderate Impact Level.

At Xgility, we’ve migrated Federal, State, and Local agencies as well as Government Contractors to Microsoft Cloud platforms.  These customers are achieving new levels of productivity and security in the cloud.  We agree with Microsoft that Office 365 offers more security than on-premises services and since you need multi-factor authentication to participate in this ecosystem, Office 365 has you covered there too.

Xgility Gov Cloud Office 365

 

If you would like to learn more about Microsoft’s Cloud or would like a 30 minute free consultation, contact us.

 

 

Author:  Chris Ertz

Editors:  Alex Finkel and Kurt Greening