On the show this week, we’re talking about Microsoft unbundling Microsoft Teams in response to Slack: Good or bad, and how will it affect you? New features coming to Teams that are long-awaited, plus Justin Kohler from SpecterOps joins us on the show to talk about his TEC conference session & give us a plethora of AD-related cybersecurity advice.

Microsoft Unbundles Teams in some European Countries and Commits to Improving Interop with Competing Solutions

In a move that comes as little surprise, given the complaint to the EU Commission from Slack/Salesforce, Microsoft will be “unbundling” Teams from Microsoft 365 – i.e. you’ll be able to buy a “Windows N” style version of Microsoft 365 that doesn’t include Teams and is slightly cheaper.

We chat about this on the show, as to be fair to Slack, it has some die-hard fans and it could be said that Slack’s problem isn’t Teams; its problems are of its own making. Plus we chat about how Microsoft is competing on many fronts against competitors – Zoom being an excellent example of how a fast-to-adopt, good-at-one-thing style product can sap market share very quickly. Teams integration into Microsoft 365 can be a weakness as well as a strength.

Competition is good though and one positive aspect is a promise of better Microsoft 365 API documentation and perhaps even improved Office web apps that can be deeply integrated into third-party products. How this transpires, only time will tell.

The changes to the SKUs start from October 1, 2023, and affect businesses in the EEA and Switzerland”

Read more about the licensing changes on the Microsoft Tech Community and on the Microsoft EU policy blog.

Microsoft 365 News & Roadmap

In the Microsoft 365 news and roadmap this week, we’ve got some long-awaited Teams improvements and more improvements coming to Entra ID.

Teams gets Updates to Make Working Cross-Tenant More Seamless

While die-hard Slack users have been scathing about switching between Teams environments when working as a guest, most folks using Teams will appreciate improvements on the way, including:

  • Side-by-side multitasking and cross-tenant notifications.
  • Improved people search and chat experience, making it easier to find someone who can be reached as an external user and as a guest.
  • Richer meeting experience when accessing a tenant you are a guest in without switching tenants.

Read more on the Microsoft Teams Blog

Cross Tenant Access gets Improvements too

On the show, we discuss cross-tenant access and these new changes, and ponder how many organizations are using cross-tenant access across organizations, rather than in multi-tenant scenarios. Obviously quite a few – but managing those policies between IT departments on behalf of users can be hard. So these are welcome improvements for both the experience and to make managing many relationships possible.

  • You can create custom roles and use protected actions to secure changes in cross-tenant access settings.
  • Microsoft has removed limits so you can set up policies for as many partners as you want.
  • Invitations respect cross-tenant access settings protecting your tenant from unapproved users and preventing user confusion.

Read more on the Microsoft Tech Community

We also discuss a different, but related feature aimed at organizations managing multiple tenants; Microsoft 365 Multi Tenant Organizations. Tony Redmond wrote about this on Practical 365 if you want to learn more.

Provision from any Source into Entra ID

HR departments and IT teams looking to integrate and improve their JML processes will be rejoicing as improvements to Entra ID are coming that improve the provisioning process and allow third-party/scripted/API-based automation:

  • Automatically provisioning cloud-only users and hybrid users (users that require an on-premises Active Directory account) from any trusted source.
  • Importing data from sources like CSV files and SQL staging tables using the automation tool of your choice
  • Simplifying the integration by using standard SCIM schema attributes to abstract schema differences across systems and provide a consistent mapping experience
  • Leveraging Lifecycle Workflows to automate joiner-mover-leaver workflows for users sourced from any system of record

Read more about the improvements on the Microsoft Tech Community

Our Guest this week: Justin Kohler from SpecterOps

We’re joined on the show this week by Justin Kohler from SpecterOps, where we discuss:

  • After moving mostly to the cloud, is your AD still at risk?
  • What are the ways you’ve most recently seen attacks against AD?
  • Are people focusing more on their cloud security than on-premises and is this the right thing to do?
  • What do people most often forget to keep in check or review on-premises?

Justin will be presenting “Protecting against ACL attacks through OU structure changes” at TEC (The Experts Conference) later this month.

Join us next week, where we’ll be discussing Microsoft Teams migrations – and what the art of the possible is for tenant migrations.

About the Author

Steve Goodman

Technology Writer and Chief Editor for AV Content at Practical 365, focused on Microsoft 365. A 12-time Microsoft MVP, author of several technology books and regular Microsoft conference speaker. Steve works at Advania in the UK as Field Chief Technology Officer, advising business and IT on the best way to get the most from Microsoft Cloud technology.

Leave a Reply