Use Office 365? Microsoft's about to start emailing you regular tips by default

What will on-by-default Office 365 email messages do to phishing-awareness training?
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Later this month Microsoft is planning to sporadically send all Office 365 business users email containing tips and training messages. That is, unless admins switch off the service.

Users on Reddit spotted the upcoming introduction of Microsoft's emails, which will contain "helpful product training and tips".

As several Reddit users point out, the emails could contradict user-awareness training about phishing threats.

"It's hard enough for people to figure out when an email is legit, I don't want to say 'OK well actually Microsoft WILL email you sometimes...'," wrote zemachabee.

Another points out that Microsoft's emails are likely to become spam for most users, given that the users who are interested in learning about Office 365 productivity tricks will actively seek information on it anyway.

"The folks who want to learn how to do something are the ones who will look it up themselves. For everyone else, these 'helpful' emails will just become spam," Saint1219 wrote.

Others believe Microsoft's emails could frustrate internal training about how to use the product.

"I don't want my users reading tips and suddenly feeling empowered to use the system in ways we haven't instructed them to," wrote Fallingdamage.

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)

There's also a suspicion Microsoft will fill the emails with marketing, or encourage users to enable features like Focused Inbox.

BleepingComputer has posted the message Microsoft sent to Office 365 admins this week. It also applies to Microsoft 365.

"We're pleased to announce that starting on November 29, 2018, all users of Microsoft 365 and Office 365 will receive helpful product training and tips for services in their subscriptions via email. This feature has administrative controls to enable and disable," Microsoft wrote.

The feature will be on by default, "allowing us to provide product training and tips aimed at helping them increase their productivity and to maximize their utilization of the products and services they use most."

Users can opt out of receiving the emails, and admins can disable the communications from the Office 365 admin center.

But rather than a binary choice, one admin argues Microsoft should give a third option that allows admins to review the content and decide whether it's suitable for their organization.

"Education is great but we prefer to know what documentation is being provided in advance," wrote ajz4221.

"All Microsoft has to do is provide an admin moderator queue for these 'helpful tips' emails, and if IT or the business decides an email from Microsoft is helpful after review, approve for distribution. It needs three settings: On, moderated or off," wrote ajz4221.

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