In our last episode of the 2021, we’ve a little Christmas relief (hopefully!) for Exchange admins, more security for the most private of Teams calls – search gets a bit of a boost in Teams, and on the roadmap, we discuss several new features coming to Outlook & Teams that are worth watching.

December 2021 Exchange Server Cumulative Updates Are Delayed

After a year of lots of Exchange Updates it might come as some relief – particularly if you’ve been dealing with log4j issues in other applications – that we won’t have Exchange patches in December.

Not much is explained as to why in the Exchange Team blog post on the issue – but on the podcast we discuss some of the issues this year in Exchange, and how the Java issues might not affect Exchange, but should still concern you.

Microsoft Postpone Exchange Server CUs

End-to-end encryption for one-to-one Microsoft Teams calls launches

Paul wrote about End to End Encryption in Microsoft Teams back when it launched into Preview back in October, and if you’ve been waiting for this feature, Microsoft have announced it is now GA (Generally Available).

This is for one-to-one calls – rather than meetings – primarily because meetings have additional features, such as transcription, recording and server-side features such as Together Mode.

In the podcast we discuss the use-cases and why this is a valuable feature that’s welcome in Teams. Most strangely though, the Microsoft 365 Roadmap continues to state this becomes GA in March 2022 – so we hope the GA announcement is right and the roadmap is out of date..

End to End Encryption (E2EE) in Microsoft Teams—What Does It Mean To You?

Microsoft’s GA announcement for E2EE in Microsoft teams

Introducing an improved search results experience on Microsoft Teams

Search in Teams has been a bugbear for me – although Paul finds it fairly useful. Both of us agree that Microsoft Search, via Bing, is extremely useful for searching across Microsoft 365 so improvements to the contextual search. We query whether some of the announced features, such as finding acronyms overlap slightly with Viva Topics and whilst there’s a little cynicism from me, we settle on the fact that as an product that’s incrementally developed and improved, the small changes and improvements to search might seem small, but add up over time.

New search results features will arrive in Teams

Of note on the Roadmap

Outlook is set to receive working hours and location features, and new options for RSVP responses, to support the longer-term world of hybrid working. Whilst seat-booking apps might be useful now, when follow up actions like cleaning of desks is needed, it is expected that working from different locations is just going to be a normal fact of life for workers.

When and as it does, it then becomes more useful to specify where you’ll be, the hours you’re working and whether you’re attending meetings in-person or remotely. These features – working hours, coming June ’22, and RSVP options for specifying online or in-person attendance, coming April ’22 will support this.

Teams has several new features on the Roadmap and we finish the show by discussing two that caught our attention. First, App Setup Policies in Teams gets the ability for admins to assign a policy to a Group. This is useful as often App Setup Policies, for example, when providing a curated set of apps for First Line workers, really need group assignment to work well. Hopefully this won’t require or need advanced communications licensing.

Finally, it might have caught your attention that Microsoft would like more people to develop apps for Teams. So, potentially to provide more visibility for those apps, users will be able to see apps in the Teams store, even if they are blocked by an admin – and request approval. This looks designed to drive adoption of third party apps (and remove a perception from some users that Teams lacks apps) and will either open the channel of communication to administrators or provide a bypass of the service desk. The latter might result in a black hole for requests to fall into, so be careful when this arrives. Microsoft aren’t delaying on getting this feature ready and hope to deliver it next month in Jan ’22.

We’ll be back in 2022 with episode 34; and keep an eye on Practical 365 over the next week for actionable, useful takes on the year that was 2021 and solid guidance from Tony Redmond on what to focus on when preparing your new years resolutions.

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.

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