Microsoft Readies OneDrive Admin Center Release for Early 2017

Microsoft is rolling out a new dashboard to help businesses better manage their cloud file synchronization and information sharing environments.

OneDrive Admin 2

OneDrive for Business usage is growing at a steady clip, and to help businesses take control over the cloud file storage platform as more users are welcomed onboard, Microsoft is rolling out a new management experience in early 2017. For those who can't wait, Office 365 customers enrolled in the company's First Release program can try out many of the new capabilities now.

For starters, the new OneDrive for Business Admin Center offers several security-enhancing features split among a handful of settings.

The Sharing section, for example, allows users to "gain control over how and with whom your users share information," explained Stephen Rose, director of Microsoft OneDrive Product Marketing, in a blog post. "This includes controlling the use of external sharing and anonymous links, as well as limiting which external domains users can share with."

Similarly, the Device Access section allows users to place restrictions on file access based on the type of device used (personal or corporate-owned) or specific networks. Meanwhile, administrators can use the options found in the Sync section to block specific file types from synchronizing and prevent PCs that are not connected to a specific network domain from synchronizing with the service, a tactic that can help business keep a tight lid on sensitive files.

Admin Center also contains a Compliance section that leads users to the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center. It provides guidance on properly configuring their OneDrive environments for data loss prevention, e-discovery and other practices that keep data safe.

The Storage section enables administrators to set document retention policies and user storage limits. Finally, the Home screen provides usage statistics and displays Office 365 Message Center notifications.

Meanwhile, Office 365 Admin Center users can check the new Service Health dashboard for outages, incidents and advisories that may have an impact on their environments. The summary view provides administrators with a list of outages and other events, along with details on the number of affected users within the organization.

Office 365 Admin Center is also gaining the ability to manage Microsoft Teams, the company's answer to Slack, a popular team collaboration platform. A new option in the Services and Add-ins section allows users to tailor the bot, notification and other settings to the needs their organizations.

In addition, Admin Center includes a new option that enables organizations to turn on GigJam for their users. GigJam is a real-time collaboration product that pulls in Office content and data from software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. Meant to break down the barriers between business apps, GigJam allows teams to work together on a variety of group tasks, such as drafting proposals or fixing a customer service issue on PCs and mobile devices.

More Office 365 Admin Center capabilities are in the works, hinted Microsoft. In future updates, the company plans to add more client access reporting statistics related to SharePoint, OneDrive for Business and Yammer. Microsoft also expects to release new public application programming interfaces (APIs) that will enable organizations to integrate Office 365 usage data into their custom applications.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...