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As Microsoft kicked off all-virtual Build 2021 today, the company had some big news regarding its Microsoft Graph service.

Specifically, the distributed in-memory data processing engine development platform is providing improvements in insights, security, and data.

Microsoft is focusing on how Microsoft Graph provides the underpinning of what makes Microsoft Teams a powerful collaborative tool. While Teams is the front-facing service, Graph is providing the data that allows the platform to provide robust sharing.

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Microsoft Viva Expansion

Leading the way in terms of new Microsoft Graph features is Microsoft Viva. While the Viva employee experience platform was announced last year, Microsoft has been rolling out sections fo the service gradually. While nothing new was introduced at Build, the company reiterated last month’s news that Viva Learning is now in public preview.

Viva Learning is part of the overall Viva employee experience, which also includes Viva Connections and Viva Insights. Viva Connections has been available to all SharePoint customers since March. The second, Viva Insights launched in public preview that same month to give organizations actionable insights into productivity across teams.

New Graph Features

Microsoft Graph has a deep connection with security through integration with Azure Active Directory. At Build, Microsoft is introducing new features that further the security of the Graphi:

  • “Continuous Access Evaluation, which is available for preview, allows Azure AD to continuously monitor resources for security threats and revoke access tokens based on critical events or policy evaluation, rather than simply relying on a short token lifetime.  
  • We’re introducing a new authentication methods API so you can manage access to the data and resources in your app, using primary, two-step, or step-up authentication, and invoke a self-service password reset process (SSPR).
  • And lastly, we’re announcing the general availability of the external identities APIs to so your apps can establish secure B2C user interactions using predefined, configurable policies while your users can use their everyday accounts to register with your solution.”

Graph Connectors Update

Microsoft Graph Connectors provide a way for users of Microsoft 365 to surface data insights across 365 applications. There are several new features coming to Graph Connectors:

  • “Support for enrichment of people profile from non-AAD sources that will enable admins to map properties from Microsoft Graph connectors to Microsoft 365 people cards in your organization.
  • New Jira and Confluence connectors built by Microsoft, available later this year.
  • Expansion of Search results to Microsoft Teams mobile and desktop clients and the Windows Search Box.
  • eDiscovery support for Graph connectors developer preview will be available in summer 2021.

Graph Data Connect

The final piece of Microsoft Graph news from Build 2021 is the first preview of Graph Data Connect on Microsoft Azure. This is a secure connector with high-throughput capabilities that allows Azure customers to copy some Microsoft 365 datasets onto their tenant.

Microsoft points out the feature is for developers who want to incorporate organizational analytics, AI and ML training, and insights into their work.

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