Back to blog

Five (Office 365) tips for surviving the Christmas holidays.

19 Dec 2017 by emma.robinson

We are now T minus 6 days to Christmas, and you might be seeing people literally and metaphorically ‘switch off’ around you. If you work in IT, you’ll know that powering off is simply not an option, so here’s a few of our best tips for making it through the holiday season.
1. Oh, Christmas Tree!
Office decorations not up to scratch? Why not make a flashing PowerShell Christmas Tree instead? Simply use this script to make all your Christmas dreams come true!

 2. Re-gifting an old device? Make sure Office 365 has been disconnected!
A number of people you work with will likely have a phone/tablet shaped box under the tree with their name on it. This often means that a relative or acquaintance gets re-gifted with a ‘new-ish’, second-hand phone – everyone’s happy. However, in all the excitement, a lot of people forget to disconnect their old device from Office 365. When work emails, and confidential data start streaming into your relative’s new/old ‘present’, suddenly you don’t look quite so benevolent.
If you’re an IT Admin, and this scenario is happening a handful of times across the holiday season, you could have a sizeable security risk on your hands. To preempt and avoid this problem, you can increase user awareness (showing them how to disconnect a device), but you should also make sure you know which devices are connected to your Office 365 tenant, and who they belong to. If you find that there are multiple devices owned by the same user, you can investigate further, speak to the user, and conduct a regular audit to review connected devices. We recently posted a blog with a handy PowerShell script which can help report on devices are connected to Outlook. If you need a bit more detail, like the make, model, last connection time, or user details – why not take a look at Radar for Office 365, which offers powerful, detailed reporting on Mobile Devices, Exchange, Security, and more.
If you find that you need to remove a device? This blog will show you how.
3. hOhOhO – Don’t be an accidental Scrooge!
A lot of people work the days between Christmas and New Year, but many people don’t – so you’ll likely see a lot of automatic replies flying around during this time. One thing we’ve noticed is that Teams doesn’t take advantage of the out-of-office status data from a user’s Exchange mailbox, or their Skype status, so it won’t tell you if someone is actually on leave. This means that if you want to avoid interrupting someone’s 100000th mince pie, why not double check the person’s status on Skype or in Outlook before pinging them in Teams, they’ll thank you later.
4. Are people in your organization planning to work from home, or from a different device?
Office 365 enables users to access their online workspace from anywhere, and on any device (although you can set up conditional access/ MDM policies to control this). This is a big bonus for productivity, but only as long as people truly understand how it works.
It might seem basic, but if working from home is not a common occurrence in your organization it’s important that users are aware of what they can access from other devices. They might be able to get to all their documents from OneDrive or SharePoint Online, but anything that’s accidentally saved locally won’t be available, and they might not be able to get into other non-Office 365 applications they need to do their job. Sometimes, a change in IP can trigger a warning, or simply kick you out of an app unless your address is on a safe list. A quick note making people aware of potential issues might serve to head off a few support tickets if you’re lucky!
5. Make sure you experience a little downtime (the good kind)
You might be down to work the entire festive period, or you might get one or two days off (while keeping an eye to ensure everything is running as it should). No matter how you’re spending it, we hope you’re able to enjoy a little respite, when you can. Failing that, maybe wear a Santa hat?