Limit Automatic Meeting Joins
Office 365 Notification MC219629 updated on August 5, 2020, announces the delivery of the ability to update meeting policies so that all meetings limit automatic joining (aka lobby bypass) to the meeting organizers. In other words, everyone except the organizer, including other users from the home tenant, must wait in the lobby to be admitted to the meeting. The change is linked to Microsoft 365 roadmap item 66463.
I’m unsure that imposing strict limits on who joins a meeting without going through the lobby will be popular in enterprise environments (but could absolutely be wrong on this point). Only a small number of meetings are so confidential that automatic joining needs to be prohibited until the organizer is ready for the meeting to begin. In a physical sense, the equivalent is when participants turn up for a meeting to find the door to the conference room locked and must wait outside until someone turns up with the key.
The need for restrictive control on join for individual meetings is met by the “Only me” meeting option which allows organizers to block participants from joining meetings (Figure 1), which Microsoft rolled out to Teams in May 2020.
The update for Teams meeting policies now being enabled has the same restrictive effect on joining as “Only me” for all meetings organized by people assigned a policy with the new control set. I would be slow to set up a meeting policy with this control in a corporate tenant and believe that its most likely use case is in education environments where teachers might want to control student admittance to sessions.
Change Soon Available in the Teams Admin Center
Microsoft says that they will roll out the change in late August and expect to complete the deployment in early September, just in time for the new school year. It will be possible to apply the new setting by editing a meeting policy through the Teams admin center or PowerShell (already possible in some tenants) by running the Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy cmdlet. The cmdlet is available in the Skype for Business Online module or the preview version of the Teams PowerShell module.
The new setting only applies to new meetings created after the policy change. If necessary, meeting organizers can update meetings and apply a different setting after meetings are created.
Updating a Meeting Policy with PowerShell
The AutoAdmittedUsers control in a Teams meeting policy controls who can enter a meeting automatically (without being forced to wait in the lobby). Up to now, the accepted values were:
- EveryoneInCompany: All accounts in the same tenant can join automatically.
- EveryoneInSameAndFederatedCompany: Accounts in the same tenant and accounts in other federated tenants can join automatically.
- Everyone: Any participant can join automatically.
MC219629 introduces OrganizerOnly as a valid setting for AutoAdmittedUsers. Once the update is active in your tenant, you’ll be able to use this value for AutoAdmittedUsers in a meeting policy using the latest Teams PowerShell module (I used version 1.1.4 dated 6 July).
Here’s an example of updating a meeting policy to restrict automatic join to organizers only:
Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy -Identity RestrictedFunctionality -AutoAdmittedUsers OrganizerOnly
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