Microsoft

Microsoft Teams Updates (February 2021)

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It’s February! With Valentines Day right around the corner, love is in the air, and Microsoft has so graciously given us a plethora of new features and functionality over the past month! What’s not to love about that!? In today’s blog, we’ll discuss some of the latest and greatest features around Teams collaboration, meetings, calling, and security/compliance!

Chat & Collab Updates

Approvals App in Teams

Looking for an easy way to create, manage, and share approvals without even leaving Teams? Look no further, with the Teams Approvals app you can easily start an approval flow directly from a chat or channel conversation! To complete an approval, all you’ll need to do is fill in the name for the request, who needs to approve it, and any additional details. You even have the option to attach files if needed! For instructions on starting your first approval, check out Microsoft’s support article here!

Image provided by Microsoft

Offline Autosend

Trying to send a message but you don’t have internet connectivity? No need to worry, with Microsoft’s latest update to the offline experience in Teams you can craft your messages and send them while offline and have the messages automatically sent as soon as you establish connectivity again!

Increase in user count for org-wide teams

If you’re part of a small to medium-sized organization with less than 10,001 members you’ll be happy to hear that Microsoft has increased from 5,000 to 10,000! Provided you fall into that category, your administrators will have the ability to create an org-wide team that will automatically pull in every user within the organization and has the team automatically keep itself updated with Active Directory as people join or leave the organization! If you’re interested in learning more about org-wide teams, check out Microsoft’s documentation here.

Meeting Updates

Meeting chat moderation

With this latest update, you will now have the ability to choose from 3 different chat settings for better moderation capabilities in your meetings! The 3 options include:

  • Disabled
    • Organizer and participants won’t be able to use meeting chat
  • In-meeting Only
    • Allows participants to send messages only during the meeting
    • Allows organizer to send messages at any time
  • Enabled
    • Allows chats for all meeting attendees at any time

Meetingsettings

Adding a shared calendar to a Teams channel

Now you can easily create, manage, and share a calendar with members of a specific channel! Whenever a channel meeting is created you will have the ability to see the event within the channel’s activity feed and now the channel’s calendar. This allows you to easily track any upcoming channel meetings, especially if you have notifications turned off! To get this added, simply go to your channel and select the ‘ + ‘ option to add a tab to the channel. From there just search for channel calendar and add the app as a tab within the channel!

Channelcalendar

Channelcalendar1

Free Audio Conferencing Offer

If you missed the deadline to benefit from Microsoft’s free audio conferencing add-on offer, no need to worry! Microsoft has just extended this offer until June 30, 2021! This offer gives your meetings a global dial-in number so those joining on any mobile device can easily dial into the meeting. In addition, you can connect others to the audio portion of your meeting by dialing out to them. To learn more about the offer, check out the official announcement here.

Calling Updates

If you’re involved in the voice side of Teams you’re probably familiar with Direct Routing. If not, I encourage you to check out my whole series on Direct Routing, you can start that off here! To put it simply, Direct Routing allows your organization to place and receive calls over the PSTN (Public Switch Telephone Network) in Teams when coupling this Microsoft’s Phone System. With this latest update, Microsoft has added 3 additional SBC vendors who have successfully completed their Session Border Controller (SBC) certification process. This certification ensures that the SBC supports Microsoft Teams Direct Routing and includes rigorous 3rd party testing and validation before being released to the public.

Security and Compliance Updates

Adaptive Card Compliance Capabilities

According to Microsoft, more than 70% of the apps today generate card content in Teams conversations. This means that 100% of that card content should be regulated since it involves Teams chat and file content. Luckily, Microsoft has just released new compliance capabilities around Adaptive Card content that is generated through apps in Teams messages. The following compliance capabilities are now generally available:

  • Legal hold
    • Preserve adaptive card content
  • eDiscovery
    • Identify, collect, and produce card content in response to an investigation
  • Audit
    • Audit user activity on Adaptive Cards for forensics
  • Retention
    • Manage the card content lifecycle in Teams

So what do you as the app developer need to do to benefit from these capabilities? Easy, nothing! Simply have your tenant admin turn on the Teams workflow as a location for any of the compliance capabilities mentioned above and Adaptive Card content generated through apps in the Teams conversation will be automatically included in the reports! Looking to learn more about this? Check out Microsoft’s official post here.

Secure Score for Teams

Microsoft Teams has just joined the Secure Score family! Now you can see Microsoft’s security recommendations around Teams for your tenant! Within the Improvement actions tab of the Microsoft Secure Score, you can easily filter on Microsoft Teams to get improvement actions strictly around Teams.

Securescore

ImprovementactionsThat wraps up this month’s main updates around Microsoft Teams! If you’re looking for additional updates around GCC or Education tenants, I encourage you to check out Microsoft’s updates located here. Check back soon, as I plan to start branching out with my blogs by including workloads like Intune/Endpoint Manager, Security, Compliance, and even governance in Microsoft 365!

About the Author

Brian is a Technical Consultant for Perficient’s Unified Communications practice focusing primarily on Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams workloads. He has been in this role since December 2017 and has an active presence blogging about all things Teams related. Currently, Brian resides in the suburbs of Chicago and enjoys running, swimming, weight lifting, and playing soccer in his free time.

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