Enabling Forefront Administration and Quarantine in BPOS

Exchange Online, standalone or as part of BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite), always comes with antivirus and anti-spam protection delivered by Forefront Online Protection for Exchange or FOPE. Mails are always scanned for viruses and, depending on your settings, checked for spam.

As a BPOS administrator you can control the anti-spam checking behavior by configuring safe and blocked senders in the BPOS Administration Center. E-mail addresses, IP addresses or domains added to the safe senders for instance are not checked for spam by the FOPE infrastructure.

When e-mail is marked as spam, it is held by FOPE. By default, a BPOS user gets an e-mail every three days (from FOPE) with a list of e-mails marked as spam. The user can then decide to move the e-mail to the inbox.

If you want more control and visibility into what FOPE does, and you want to grant users access to the quarantine website at FOPE for immediate action on blocked mails, you will need to ask support to enable the following for you:

You can initially ask that the BPOS administration account you are using is granted access to both. From the FOPE administration website, you can add other users so that they have access to their quarantine. Note that the password to access FOPE admin and quarantine is different from the BPOS password!

Now the question is: “What can you do in the FOPE administration website?”. The answer is simple: “Not that much.” Basically, you get read-only access to most settings. However, you can generate reports and, as stated above, add other users so that they can access the quarantine website. The screenshot below shows an example of a report (in Dutch):

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A user with access to the quarantine, sees the following:

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The user can easily select the e-mails that are not spam and move them to the inbox (or mark them as not spam).

If we look forward to how things will be in Office 365, administrators will have more control over the settings in FOPE. That, for sure, will be a welcome addition to the capabilities of Exchange Online and the administrative control customers will have over it.

Inviting external users to Office 365 SharePoint Sites

imageA question I often get while delivering the BPOS courses for partners in Belgium and Luxemburg is how to collaborate with external users on SharePoint sites. In BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite), you can only grant access to users that have an account in the customer’s BPOS subscription and those users consume a license. Although you can use a deskless worker license, you still need to provision the account, manage it and pay a monthly fee for it.

In Office 365, it will be possible to grant external users access by using their e-mail address. The only caveat here is that the external user has to logon with a Live ID that matches the e-mail address you granted access to. If they do not have one, they will have to create one. Although I would have liked to see support for Open ID, Facebook Connect or other systems this new possibility will make it much easier to collaborate with external users.

The SharePoint Online Administration Guide (still beta of course) that is now available on TechNet documents the process in two sections: