Two new features will help users enjoy Microsoft Teams meetings better. Or at least, improve the “user experience” by removing some irritations people currently have during meetings. The first allows users to suppress notifications arriving during meetings. The second hides a user’s video feed from their view to remove what seems to be a distraction for many. I’ve already disabled notifications for meetings. Maybe you should do the same?
Finding the age of a Microsoft 365 tenant isn’t an important administrative operation. However, understanding how to retrieve this information (if asked) is an interesting question, which is why we spent several hours playing around with PowerShell and the Microsoft Graph to figure out how to answer the question. It’s the kind of in-depth analysis we do all the time to build content for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook.
A new List Teams API is available in the beta version of the Microsoft Graph. In time, the new API might replace the existing methods used to fetch sets of teams for processing. For now, there’s no need to update any code as we wait for Microsoft to fully bake the new API. Maybe it will be more performant and functional in the future!
On January 10, Microsoft announced that the base Office 365 workloads support Continuous Access Evaluation (CAE) for critical Azure AD events like password changes or account deletions. Although you can take CAE even further with conditional access policies, giving Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Teams the ability to react to critical events in almost real-time is a very big thing indeed.
Microsoft Teams enterprise users can now communicate with Teams consumer users. That is, if the right settings are in place to allow communication (they’re enabled by default). Communication is straightforward but limited to chat messages. The question is how many people will use external access to connect with Teams consumer users. Time will tell.
Auto-label retention policies find items in Microsoft 365 locations and apply retention labels to those items. In this article, we explain the steps involved in creating an auto-label retention policy to look for items with sensitivity labels and apply retention labels to those items.
Whiteboard is the latest Teams-enabled app to use OneDrive for Business for its storage. It’s unsurprising and it’s a trend likely to continue, and it creates an administrative challenge in terms of how to handle deleted Microsoft 365 user accounts. The suggested approach of having a designated user review the information and retrieve what’s important is OK for documents but doesn’t work for app-linked content. Retention policies are a better option.
Planner now creates digital twins (copies) of tasks in user mailboxes in Exchange Online to make data available for eDiscovery and compliance. Storing items in the Microsoft 365 substrate is the same approach to making data available for search and compliance as taken by Teams and Yammer.
In a surprising December 21 announcement, Microsoft put its Information Protection labeling client into maintenance mode effective January 1, 2022. Making an announcement as the IT industry was closing down for the holiday period is no good way to make certain customers learn about a development, and it’s curious that Microsoft left it until nine days before the client entered maintenance mode to let people know.
The January 2022 update for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook is available for subscribers to download. This is the 79th monthly update for the only eBook updated monthly to keep pace with change inside Office 365 and the surrounding Microsoft 365 ecosystem. Subscribers are welcome to download the updated files from their Gumroad.com account or by using the download link in their original receipt.
Microsoft pushed out version 18.104.22.168 of the AAD Connect synchronization utility earlier this month. Unfortunately, the new software removes disabled on-premises user accounts from Azure AD, which means that on-premises shared mailboxes disappear for cloud users. Microsoft has released version 22.214.171.124 but maybe it’s better to go back to a version that you know works. At least until after the holidays.
Among the changes Microsoft postponed to January is the introduction of a new unmute keyboard shortcut for meetings. While I lik shortcuts generally, this one doesn’t seem to make much sense, especially because an existing keyboard shortcut is available to toggle mute on and off during meetings. In any case, if you don’t want to use the shortcut, you can disable it in Teams settings. To each their own…
To make Microsoft 365 DLP policies work like Exchange transport-rule based DLP, a January change will switch evaluation of sender conditions away from envelope information to message headers. Although this change might seem to be something beloved of email geeks, it’s actually an important update for organizations who want to move away from ETR-based DLP to Microsoft 365 DLP policies.
A change in how Office apps apply mandatory labeling as dictated by sensitivity label policies means that both new and old documents are processed. New documents have always been dealt with; the change being made ensures that Office apps detect the lack of a label when opening an existing document and will apply mandatory labeling at that point. It’s a change to help customers move on from the unified labeling client.
The Microsoft 365 audit log holds all kinds of useful data, including events logged for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business file deletions. It’s easy to use PowerShell to search the audit log to find and interpret the events and create a report. Large tenants might need to export the audit data on a regular basis to an external repository to allow for long-term retention and analysis. We explain the principles of the process in this article.
Some changes in the Microsoft Teams desktop and browser clients will allow users to decline guest invitations from other organizations, leave organizations, and hide organizations from Teams. Although leaving another organization has been a well-trodden path for several years, it’s required knowledge to find the right place to go. Having these options in Teams makes it much easier to manage a cluttered set of organizations.
Microsoft is changing the way the Exchange Online transport service resolves the membership of dynamic distribution groups. Instead of doing this when someone sends a message to a dynamic group, Exchange resolves the membership once daily and whenever the recipient filter changes. It’s a reasonable approach designed to make messages move faster and more reliably, and it’s similar to the way that Azure AD dynamic groups maintain their memberships, so it shouldn’t make much difference.
A new tweak to the sharing link dialog used by OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, and other Microsoft 365 workloads block downloads of video and audio files by default. This is probably what you want to happen as, unlike Office documents, when you share a video or audio file, it’s likely to be final content ready to be consumed rather than being worked on.
New audit events are available to capture information about Teams meetings and participants, but only if you have Office 365 E5 or above licenses. That’s because Microsoft deems these events to be high-value audit information prized by forensic investigators when they try to unravel what happened in an incident. You’ll have to make your own mind up how valuable the events are, but we’ve written some PowerShell to make the data more accessible.
Microsoft is rolling out new activity feed controls for notifications posted by apps and when people use reactions to respond to messages. The idea is to make the activity feed less distracting for busy users. The interesting technical issue is how to deal with notifications created by the many hundreds of Teams-enabled apps available today.
The ability to lookup a user, site, or group and report the Microsoft 365 retention policies applicable to the location is now available in preview. The new feature helps administrators understand what retention policies might block the deletion of a mailbox, site, or group, something that’s often difficult when multiple retention policies exist in a tenant. Although welcome, it would be nice if Microsoft could extend the feature to add some actions. Maybe that will come in the next version.
Microsoft enhanced a new 99.99% SLA for Teams Phone and Calling on December 1. The new SLA is backed with financial commitments for credit if Microsoft doesn’t meet its standards. All of this is very nice, as long as you understand how the SLA is calculated and what you need to do if problems happen to be in a position to make a claim.
Microsoft 365 informed network routing is now available, if you have the right Cisco SD WAN network gear in your datacenter. This is a set forward to help network controllers make better routing decisions for Microsoft 365 network traffic by providing application-specific quality of service metrics instead of using artificial probes to detect network issues. Sounds good, but will it make a difference to your Office 365 tenant? Read on…
A new sharing link dialog for OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online is rolling out to Office 365 tenants. The new dialog makes it easier to configure settings for copy links. This might sound like a small thing on the overall scale of Microsoft 365, but making it absolutely clear how to configure sharing links is a good step towards helping users send the right kind of links when they share documents with others.
The December 2021 update is available for Office 365 for IT Pros, the only eBook updated monthly to document technology changes and new capabilities across Office 365 and relevant parts of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. Subscribers for the EPUB/PDF version can download the updated files from Gumroad.com to make sure that they have the most up-to-date content available.
Microsoft is adding Audio conferencing to all Teams plans and making it easier to embrace the Teams Phone system with a new Teams Phone and Calling Plan product. The new offering is available on January 1, 2022 and replaces separate products targeted at the SMB and enterprise markets. While it’s good that Microsoft is simplifying their Teams Phone offering, buying a product is only the start of a journey to implementation.
Information barriers seem like a good idea. Implement policy-driven controls over who can communicate within a Microsoft 365 tenant. Microsoft is making the solution available to education tenants. In reality, they should spend some the engineering effort required to improve the current sad state of the information barriers solution. No GUI, horrible management, PowerShell with impenetrable errors, and a lack of visibility into how the solution works.
The Office 365 for IT Pros team will be at the European Collaboration Summit (ECS) in Dusseldorf. Come to listen to Tony talk about sensitivity labels on Tuesday or Paul discuss tenant to tenant migration on Wednesday. ECS is a great community-led event that’s well worth attending if you find yourself in Europe and have the ability to travel to Germany. Don’t forget your mask!
Azure AD has a history of outages which have caused problems for Microsoft 365 tenants over the years. Microsoft hopes to solve the problem with a backup authentication service that’s capable of keeping things going if the primary Azure AD service goes offline. Basically, the backup service has copies of successful authentications over the last three days which can be used to process authentication requests for most sessions when the primary service fails. It seems like a good idea.
The Viva Learning app is available for deployment to Microsoft Teams users. The Viva Learning app delivers courseware to users to allow them to browse and access content created by Microsoft, the tenant, or external courseware providers such as Skillsoft and Pluralsight. In this article, we describe the three quick and easy steps to get Viva Learning up and running to help expand the minds of your Teams users.
A new per-user policy setting for Microsoft Teams allows admins to exert per-user control over who can have anonymous people join their meetings. The new policy setting can be managed now with PowerShell and will co-exist alongside the current tenant-wide setting for a period. Microsoft will then deprecate the tenant-wide setting to allow the policy settings exert sole control.
Microsoft Teams is introducing a new co-organizer role for meetings. The role allows people to share the workload involved in managing complex meetings, like webinars. The role is optional and likely to be used in a small minority of Teams meetings. Even so, it’s a useful feature to have available when you’re planning a large and complex meeting.
Checking the details of the Azure subscription I had linked to Azure AD revealed that some unexpected costs were clocking up for premium Azure AD features. Microsoft promises that the first 50,000 unique guest user accesses are free each month, so why were those charges growing. It’s all down to how the Microsoft eCommerce system works, and everything is fine in the end.
The Microsoft Teams feedback policy assigned to user accounts controls whether users can give Microsoft feedback through the Teams clients. Not every organization wants their users to communicate directly with Microsoft. If you’re in this category, you can disable the Give feedback option easily by updating the Teams feedback policy assigned to user accounts. All explained here!
When SharePoint users share information, Office 365 captures events in its audit log. By analyzing the events, we can build a picture of how people share information. The sad thing is that the audit events logged when someone extends the validity of a sharing link doesn’t contain as much information as you might like. Even so, we can still analyze the sharing events to build a picture of what happens in an Office 365 tenant.
The SharePoint Online expiring access policy controls how long external users can use a sharing link. You don’t have to use this policy, but it’s a good idea to configure it. And once the policy is active, users will see notices when their sharing links approach expiration. The process to renew (extend) sharing links is quick and easy. And if you want even more protection, consider combining this policy with sensitivity labels.
Teams meeting recordings can contain a lot of confidential information. It’s a quick and easy task to create a Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policy to stop people sharing these files externally, In this post, we show just how simple the required policy is, and just how effective it is at stopping external sharing.