This week’s topics:

New features for Teams and Microsoft 365 Groups guest access reviews

We discussed the new Access Reviews for guests in Teams and Microsoft 365 Groups Public Preview. In short, this functionality requires an Azure AD Premium Plan 2 license to use and provides a customizable workflow for reviewing ongoing external guest access to Teams.

For example, when a guest has not accessed a Team for some time, you may want the Team owner(s) or the guest to confirm that they still need access and provide a justification, which would then be approved by an internal team.

Read more about the preview

But – that’s not all. Microsoft also dropped a similar feature into the Microsoft 365 roadmap they are calling Simple Periodic review for guest users. This feature claims to allow the Teams IT admin to schedule periodic reviews.

We debate whether this is the same as the preview for Access reviews for guests or a new feature on the podcast. We don’t know for sure, but due to this component’s phasing and its planned availability date, it may be a Teams-focused feature that requires more effort from an IT admin but doesn’t require additional licensing. It’s certainly one to watch.

Critical changes to guest settings in Microsoft Teams

Firstly, a reminder that on February 8th Microsoft will make a change to your Teams configuration if you’ve not changed it from the defaults.

This new configuration will turn on guest access to your tenant and allow users to invite external people into their Teams.

Although Paul’s perception is that this is not a good change for mid-size and enterprise customers and the environments you’re managing, I point out that this may be a welcome change for smaller businesses that don’t have an IT department. These businesses may have never even accessed the Teams Admin Center before and may view these tenant default settings as service limitations.

If you are looking for Microsoft’s official statement on this change, look for MC234252 in your tenant’s Message Center.

Teams on Mac gains the ability to share computer audio, but did we even notice it was missing?

Many users have been patiently waiting for the Mac client to share computer audio, especially teachers using their home computers to teach. But how will this subset of users know when there is or isn’t feature parity?

We discuss some of the issues even IT pros have trouble understanding when the Teams desktop client receives these updates/features. While Paul uses a Mac for 30% of his meetings, he finds it impossible to guess whether it’s a missing feature or he’s just not got the right update yet when signed into a particular tenant. And as Paul asks on the show – why can’t he create a task from a chat?

Fundamental feature parity between clients was a selling point of Microsoft Teams – so the missing features arriving are definitely welcome. Just don’t ask about the Linux client…

Teams on the web gains 2×2 video, Large Gallery View, and Together Mode

A big complaint from people who have to use Teams on the web is that it doesn’t support showing more than one incoming video feed at a time.

In two new roadmap items, Microsoft announced that 2×2 video (where you see four feeds), Large Gallery view, and Together Mode should arrive this February.

If you use Public Preview mode, though, you can test this out today.

Microsoft provides tips for safe online meetings and collaboration – but should they even need to?

In a new blog post, Microsoft provides tips for safe meetings and collaboration.

Although it appears aimed at users – we don’t recommend forwarding it to them. If you have implemented the E5 functionality for Teams DLP, and implemented Sensitivity Labels for Teams, there’s a high likelihood you will have already told your users about these features.

On the podcast, we discuss the importance of why this topic was even brought up: users are still struggling with basic Teams Meeting permissions, such as who can attend and who can present.

Rather than expecting every employee in your organization to set options for every meeting they create, we recommend finding out what the sensible defaults should be for your organization.

Pilot those settings with a representative group internally and communicate the changes to people. This exercise will save time and provide a better experience.

Important news we didn’t have time to discuss on the podcast…

  • Adaptive Retention Policies to arrive in Public Preview this June – this new feature will allow you to create retention policies that include users based on attributes, such as department name, location, or similar.
  • New Teams Role for Device Managers coming this February – If you have IT pros managing phones or meeting room systems, this new role will allow you to delegate access to just devices rather than the broader Teams Admin Center
  • Secure Score will soon include Teams Recommendations – Secure Score is excellent for obtaining a to-do list of security improvements to consider and as a litmus test for how you compare to elsewhere. New Teams security recommendations, including these, will be provided.

And finally, you’ll soon see the Meet Now button inside the Outlook client.

We briefly discussed this at the end of the podcast and wondered how widespread the usage of “Teams’ Meet Now” functionality is?

Would you call a colleague for a chat, schedule a meeting with them, or simply hit “Meet now” and “Ask them to join”?

We both agree that calling someone directly or scheduling a meeting is far more likely, and this new feature could be focused on parity with Zoom’s Outlook integration.

For standalone “throwaway” meetings in client Zoom, this makes more sense; for Teams, which provides constant chat, IM, and status information, maybe “Meet now” is less relevant these days.

Let us know your thoughts!

About the Author

Steve Goodman

Chief Editor for Audio and Video Content and Technology Writer for Practical 365, focused on Microsoft 365. A nine-time Microsoft MVP, author of several Exchange Server books and regular conference speaker, including at Microsoft conferences including Ignite, TechEd and Future Decoded. Steve has worked with Microsoft technology for over 20 years beginning and has been writing about Exchange and the earliest iterations of Office 365 since its inception. Steve helps customers plan their digital transformation journey and gets hands on with Microsoft Teams, Exchange and Identity projects.

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