Office 365 Gains Streamlined Yammer Log-Ins, Encrypted Email

Microsoft tightens Yammer integration and rolls out encrypted email in a rapid-fire burst of Office 365 updates.

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Microsoft isn't slowing down after last week's enhancements to its cloud-based Exchange Online Protection product. This week, the company is tackling Yammer log-ins, strengthening email security and setting the stage for e-signature support from DocuSign.

In a Feb. 17 blog post, Christophe Fiessinger, senior product manager on the company's enterprise social team, said that Microsoft's Office-Yammer integration efforts continue apace. "In line with our Yammer and Office 365 road map, we're releasing a new feature that more deeply integrates Yammer and Office 365: user mapping."

In essence, user mapping eliminates the extra step of logging into Yammer from Office 365. "When you opt into Yammer as your default social experience in Office 365, Office 365 users are mapped to their existing Yammer accounts," explained Fiessinger. "This means that when you click Yammer from your Office 365 global navigation bar, you do not need to authenticate again."

While convenient, user mapping doesn't represent a "complete Yammer single sign-on (SSO) solution," Fiessinger wrote. Users of the Website or mobile apps are still required to log in with their credentials.

Also this week, the company announced the general availability of Office 365 Message Encryption. The product "is an enhanced version of Exchange Hosted Encryption (EHE), with the addition of a new set of features," stated Shobhit Sahay, Microsoft product manager.

First announced in November, Office 365 Message Encryption enables businesses to send and receive secure encrypted emails that integrate with existing email systems and with Office 365 without additional client software. Among its key features is the ability to send private emails to any user.

"No matter what the, Yahoo, Gmail, Exchange Server, Lotus Notes, GroupWise, Squirrel Mail—you name it—you can send sensitive business communications with an additional level of protection against unauthorized access," stated Sahay Nov. 21. The functionality is enabled via a subscription to Windows Azure Rights Management, which is already in the Office 365 Enterprise E3 and E4 plans.

On the electronic signature front, the Microsoft and DocuSign inked "a long-term strategic partnership to make DocuSign's industry-leading eSignature apps widely available from within Microsoft Office 365," announced the software giant Feb. 17. Plans call for integration with Outlook, Word, SharePoint Online and SharePoint Server 2013, said Microsoft.

"We believe Office 365 customers of all sizes will appreciate the seamless availability of DocuSign integrated into the applications they use every day," said DocuSign CEO Keith Krach in a statement. "The combination of Microsoft and DocuSign further helps organizations keep business digital, and leverages the power of the cloud to help them focus on business results."

Microsoft is enlisting its cloud storage service to help businesses manage their "DocuSigned documents." Organizations will soon be able to automatically upload signed Office 365 documents to Microsoft OneDrive for Business, claimed the company.

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 network of...