Microsoft 365 network connectivity

Microsoft has released a new console to visualize the network performance between your corporate network and M365, this new feature will help the administrators to identify performance issues proactively.

This console has been released this month, and you can find it in the Health tab – Network connectivity.

The first time you have to join the network connectivity preview.

As part of the set up, you have to add a new location in your service, as the message indicated: “We need more data to generate network connectivity insights

To get started, turn on your location opt-in setting to automatically collect data from devices using Windows Location Services, go to your Locations list to add or upload location data, or have someone run the Microsoft 365 network connectivity test from your office locations.”

Click on the Locations tab, then click on Add Location.

Click on yes to allow Bing maps to get your location.

Input your network details in the new location, then click on save.

A confirmation will appear the location has been added.

Once you have the location(s) configurated, go to the right upper corner and select Network Connectivity Test.

The Microsoft 365 network connectivity test console will appear, read all the terms and click on run test.

As you can see below, there is information vital for review. Also you can run a .exe file to run the report on your own. 

Now you have one more tool to identify performance or network issues; this information will also provide metrics to the network team to adjust in the QoS or any other parameters in the networks.

I hope this information helps. Thanks for reading.


Microsoft Teams network assessment tool

If you are in the process of migrating from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams for the first time, in that case, always is a best practice to execute the network assessment tool to identify any possible bottleneck in your internal network.

Sometimes, even when you have excellent network switches, the problem can be wireless clients’ access points.
When there is a branch office in the company, because they don’t have the same infrastructure as in the headquarter, this kind of tool will help you identify possible network problems before implementing Microsoft Teams.

Suppose you are already using Microsoft Teams, and you have bad quality in either voice or video. In that case, this tool is a good resource to identify what device or configuration is causing these failures.
When I say failures in your network, maybe it is just the quality of service configuration or adjustments that will allow using the same network. Still, with some improvements for the voice or video, in the same way, you will find some delays in your network or jitters, but again, if you don’t have this kind of tools, it will be hard to be 100% sure about what is going on in your internal network.

For all the messaging administrators that were using the same tool but for the Sky for business, this new version is exclusively for Microsoft Teams.

You can get that tool from this link Download Microsoft Teams Network Assessment Tool from Official Microsoft Download Center, download and install it on a computer.

Accept the license terms and click on Install
The progress bar will appears and also another window to install the program
Click on Next
Be careful of the path, you will need this information later
Click install and this is the last step.
Using a windows explorer, go to the installation path and double click on NetworkAssessmentTool.exe
You will see the tool validating the ports, IP’s to start the performance check.

Where you can see the results?

Open the file NetworkAssessmentTool.exe.config and you will find these configuration, you can modify if needed.

  <!-- Audio: 50000-50019
       Video: 50020-50039
       VBSS:  50040-50059 -->
  <add key="MinimumSourcePort" value="50000"/>
  <add key="MaximumSourcePort" value="50019"/>

  <!-- Duration of media flow for the quality checker, in seconds                               -->
  <!-- Note that Ctrl+C can be pressed at any time to stop the quality check                    -->
  <add key="MediaDuration" value="300"/>

  <!-- File name of where detailed service connectivity check results are stored                -->
  <!-- Directory: %appdata%\..\Local\Microsoft Teams Network Assessment Tool                    -->
  <add key="OutputFileName" value="service_connectivity_check_results.txt"/>

  <!-- File name of where quality check results are stored                                      -->
  <!-- Directory: %appdata%\..\Local\Microsoft Teams Network Assessment Tool                    -->
  <add key="ResultsFileName" value="quality_check_results.csv"/>

Thanks for reading, I hope it helps.

Tony Gonzalez

The new Microsoft 365 defender and security center

I was researching the ATP policies in Office 365 when I saw a message about the new features in Office 365 defender, as sometimes it happens when you start reading about a specific topic. You find different links to other various topics, and at the end, you finish reading about something different as you started. This is the case.

I would like to mention some benefits that Microsoft 365 security center and Microsoft 365 defender have to protect the information that is hosted in your M365 tenant.

The new M365 security center it’s similar to having a SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) because it provides detection, analytics, and response to different events in your organization.

In the Microsoft 365 Security Center, you can get alerts and notifications about incidents regarding security breaches.

Incident dashboard

For example, when a computer is detected sending unusual traffic, using a different port to connect applications, sites, or protocols, or if a mailbox has received malicious content like malware, virus, or phishing.

The security defender solution, besides detecting all of these attacks, also gives some playbooks to mitigate the incident and make sure that the security breach is mitigated.

In the situation where a user receives malware, the incident dashboard contains all the information regarding the computer infected, IP address, location, user details, mailboxes, and the level of the risk.

In our experience as messaging administrators, we know that regardless of all the technologies or systems that we have to identify and block malware, sometimes some emails pass through. Therefore, we need to purge the delivered emails.

Now, Office 365 can identify those emails and delete them from the mailbox, even when they have been delivered; this is known as ZAP (Zero-Hour Auto Purge). Once Office 365 identifies this problem, an alert is triggered, and the alert is correlated with an incident. Therefore, in the dashboard, we can see an investigation related to this event.

Office 365 security can act immediately without any human intervention.

NOTE: It’s important to mention that ZAP does not work in a standalone exchange Online Protection (EOP) environment that protects an On-prem exchange environment.

Report of all emails that were zapped

You can see how many emails have been Zapped, how many mailboxes have been affected, and the status of the purge; that means you can double-check that no one has that malicious email in the mailbox.

In the Microsoft 365 security center, we can see not only the email threats but their kind of alert and their status; meaning, whether that alert has been mitigated or it is in process, and you can drill down to see all details.

Part of the information that contains the alerts, you can see the user name, title, department, computer name, IP address, location, and much more data that is helpful to the administrator to review if the user was trying to log in on different computers that might be at risk.

Details about a user with a high risk score

As you can see from this figure, we could identify how risky a user is. In this example, the user is a high priority to investigate due to all the different events that her account had. Also, we can see all the various activities the user had in previous days or weeks.

Office 365 provides a score where we can quickly identify the top users where you need to take action because they can be compromised.

With the advanced hunting tool, you are able to query different system applications from Office 365 such as Defender for Office 365, Defender for EndPoint, Defender for Identity, Cloud App Security (CAS), ATP, EOP, and then use a query to get information from all this telemetry.

Advance hunting console

The output of these queries can give us more valuable information about an incident. For example, if there is a situation where the user account is compromised, we are talking that these credentials were trying to be stolen. Therefore we can identify if those credentials were used to try to access other computers.

As we know, some attackers start with a typical user and then, they move laterally until they find an admin user that can have access to any domain controller in the network.

After reviewing all the different capabilities that Microsoft Office 365 security provides, the solution can automatically detect anomalies, gathering formation from other Office 365 security products; as I stated before, now Office 365 has a kind of SIEM product where the security team is able to control all the different security incidents.

Alert when credentials were stolen or theft

Furthermore, we can see alerts regarding inbox forwarding rules to external email addresses, this is a common method the attackers use to extract information from users or companies, M365 defender creates an alert to notify the administrator that there is a suspicious rule in a mailbox, and then, a security administrator must take a look at this configuration and start an investigation.

I am stunned that Microsoft now has this kind of solution working towards having a cloud environment more secure.

 There is something that I always tell other skeptical engineers about migrating to the cloud, is that Office 365 and Microsoft Azure provide all the tools to make a secure environment.

 There are many different tools, policies, services, products, and solutions that we can implement to have a secure environment in the cloud. For example, ATP (Azure Threat Protection) policies where we can configure antimalware, Anti-Spam policies, safe attachments, safe links, data loss prevention (DLP), information protection (AIP), cloud application security (CAS), and much more security configurations!

This topic has much more to cover; this is only scratching the surface. I want to continue talking about this in other posts.

Thanks for reading



Thanks for reading, if this article was helpful or interesting, you can buy me either a coffee or beer.

Buy a coffee or beer to Tony, in that way he will continue working towards new article.