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The Lobby’s the First Stop for External Meeting Participants
In Office 365 notification MC209349 published on April 14, Microsoft announced a change to the default meeting policy to enforce lobby entry for external users. Roadmap item 63388 says:
“We are updating the default meeting policy to automatically enforce lobby for all external users who join a Teams meeting, including attendees joining via Audio Conferencing. This policy change will only impact those tenants who have not modified the default meetings policy.”
The change is rolling out to tenants now.
The “lobby” referred to in the notification is a temporary holding place for people waiting to join a meeting. Authenticated users can allow people waiting in the lobby to join a meeting. Control over who can enter a meeting without going through the lobby is set by the meeting policy assigned to the organizer’s account. If they want, the organizer can override the policy for specific meetings.
Changes Made to the Default Meeting Policy
Technically, Microsoft is updating two settings affecting participants and guests in the default meeting policy. Figure 1 shows where the changes are made in the Teams Admin Center.
Behind the Scenes
MC209349 refers to the changes in PowerShell terms, where the edits are made with the Set-CSTeamsMeetingPolicy cmdlet:
- AutoAdmittedUsers is set to everyoneInCompany. This means that internal users can join Teams meetings without going through the lobby. However, external users – including those from federated organizations – must wait for admittance.
- AllowPSTNUsersToBypassLobby is set to False. This makes sure that dial-in users cannot bypass the lobby.
To check the values of the default meeting policy afterwards, run:
Get-CSTeamsMeetingPolicy -Identity Default | Format-List
See this page for more information about settings in Teams meetings policies.
Teams external access dictates the federation between your tenant and other organizations. This could be through open federation, where you allow communications from any other tenant or closed federation, where you allow federation with tenants based on an allow or block list (but not both).
Customized Default Meeting Policies Unaffected
If you customized the default meeting policy for your tenant in the past, this change won’t overwrite or otherwise affect those customizations. Default Teams policies remain under Microsoft’s control unless a tenant wants to change a default policy. At that point, the policy is copied to the tenant and the change is applied to the copy. A tenant-customized version of a default policy always takes precedence over Microsoft’s version, which is why this change only impacts tenants who have never changed the default meeting policy.
The Office 365 for IT Pros eBook has lots of information about Teams meetings. And best of all, as things change, we update the book and make new versions available to our subscribers.