Reverse Number Lookup Enhancements in Microsoft Teams Calling

This post is about enhancements in Microsoft Teams Calling regarding the reverse number lookup (RNL). It’s an incredibly important and small feature with high impact on usability for Teams calling capabilities.

In general, RNL resolves a caller’s phone number to contact information (for instance the contact’s display name). E.g. if +49 711 987654321 is calling me and this number is stored in my contacts as Anna it will tell me that she called me in my journal etc.

Microsoft’s 365 roadmap says that the following aspects are improved:

  • Display name in your Activity Feed
  • Display name in your Call History
  • Display name in your Voicemail
Source – Microsoft 365 Roadmap – Feature
Screenshot – Teams Contact
Screenshot – Teams Call History
Screenshot – Teams Voicemail
Screenshot – Teams Activity Feed
Screenshot – Teams Voicemail in Outlook – my status was away

Conclusion, opinion and summary

As far as I could see, it’s already live in my tenant. Still, obviously not the full display name is shown in the activity feed. It looks like it is trimmed to the first word of the display name.

I’m hoping to see the full name there, too, or a changed order, e.g. the last word of the display name (last name, usually). The latter is helpful especially if you receive many calls a day from people outside your organization. For what I can say, here in Germany, it’s more common to talk to someone using his/her last name except you already know the person for a longer period and/or agreed on a more informal form to talk to each other using “Du” instead of “Sie”. That’s why it would be nice to see the full name directly in the activity feed, too, in case you directly call back the caller listed in your activity feed as missed called.

Additional resources

Sensitivity labels in Teams, SharePoint sites and Microsoft 365 groups

This post is about protecting information in your Teams, SharePoint, and Microsoft 365 group data by using Microsoft Information Protection (MIP) sensitivity labels. In July 2020 sensitivity labels were announced GA by Microsoft. It provides an answer on How to protect information in Teams, SharePoint Online and Microsoft 365 groups. In this post I walk through the configuration.

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/sicherheit-sichern-gesperrt-2168233/
Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/sicherheit-sichern-gesperrt-2168233/

What are sensitivity labels?

Sensitivity labels are some kind of persistent data or information labels to protect sensitiv and business-critical information. The following security measures are available with sensitivity labels, in general:

  • Enforce encryption or watermarks
  • Cross platform/device content protection
  • Third-party app and service content protection to detect, classify, label and protect content with Microsoft Cloud App Security, e.g. SalesForce, Box, DropBox
  • Third-party app and service extensibility by using Microsoft Information Protection SDK
  • Classify content (without protection)

Policy scoping or association options

For Microsoft Teams, 365 Groups and SharePoint Online you can decide or configure options/actions/exclusions based on

  • privacy
  • external user membership
  • unmanaged device access

For instance, any Team, SharePoint Online Site, or M365 group created with a certain label can be forced to be a private one. In consequence, the owner is not allowed and cannot add external users plus users utilizing unmanaged devices can only access the contents via web access.

Requirements

Licensing

I’m not going into details regarding licensing requirements, therefore you can find a link at the bottom of this post. Please note, that there is a difference in license requirements depending on manual vs. automatic labeling. For the latter you need Microsoft 365 E5/A5/G5, Microsoft 365 E5/A5/G5 Compliance, Microsoft 365 Information Protection and Governance, Office 365 E5, Office 365 Advanced Compliance, Enterprise Mobility + Security E5, and AIP Plan 2.

Permissions/roles

To manage/create sensitivity label you must be assigned one of the following roles:

  • Global Administrator
  • Compliance Data Administrator
  • Compliance Administrator
  • Security Administrator

Enable sensitivity labels on Azure AD

To use sensitivity labels, you need to enable it first in Azure AD by using PowerShell, for example:

#https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/users-groups-roles/groups-assign-sensitivity-labels
Import-Module AzureADPreview
Connect-AzureAD

#Check if settings object exists or needs to be created first (that's missing in Microsoft Docs)
$settingsObjectID = (Get-AzureADDirectorySetting | Where-object -Property Displayname -Value "Group.Unified" -EQ).id
if(!$settingsObjectID)
{
      $template = Get-AzureADDirectorySettingTemplate | Where-object {$_.displayname -eq "group.unified"}
    $settingsCopy = $template.CreateDirectorySetting()
    New-AzureADDirectorySetting -DirectorySetting $settingsCopy
    $settingsObjectID = (Get-AzureADDirectorySetting | Where-object -Property Displayname -Value "Group.Unified" -EQ).id

#Enable Microsoft Information Protection (MIP) labels
$Setting = Get-AzureADDirectorySetting -Id (Get-AzureADDirectorySetting | where -Property DisplayName -Value "Group.Unified" -EQ).id
$Setting.Values
$Setting["EnableMIPLabels"] = "True"
Set-AzureADDirectorySetting -Id $Setting.Id -DirectorySetting $Setting

Disconnect-AzureAD

How to create and publish labels?

In this section I walk through and show some settings based on screenshots, this is not yet for Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online and Microsoft 365 Groups. A bit more down in this post you find a section showing the part and options for sensitivity labels in Teams. Nevertheless, the process, is similar for Teams, SharePoint, and groups.

To create labels you need to start in the Microsoft 365 security center.

Screenshot – Microsoft 365 security admin center \ classification \ sensitivity labels 1

Example – create a label

Screenshot – Microsoft 365 security admin center \ classification \ sensitivity labels 2
Screenshot – Microsoft 365 security admin center \ classification \ sensitivity labels 3
Screenshot – Microsoft 365 security admin center \ classification \ sensitivity labels 4

Be cautious about encryption settings because this can have make a big impact.

Screenshot – Microsoft 365 security admin center \ classification \ sensitivity labels 5
Screenshot – Microsoft 365 security admin center \ classification \ sensitivity labels 6

Finish this and repeat the above steps as often as required to have as much labels as required.

Example – Publish labels and create a label policy

Screenshot – Microsoft 365 security admin center \ classification \ sensitivity labels 7
Screenshot – Microsoft 365 security admin center \ classification \ sensitivity labels 8
Screenshot – Microsoft 365 security admin center \ classification \ sensitivity labels 9
Screenshot – Microsoft 365 security admin center \ classification \ sensitivity labels 10
Screenshot – Microsoft 365 security admin center \ classification \ sensitivity labels 11
Screenshot – Microsoft 365 security admin center \ classification \ sensitivity labels 12

Depending on the labels you’ve created and your security requirements regarding information protections and groups you can also repeat the above steps for different sensitivity label policies in case you need to differentiate between certain user groups and therefore different information/sensitivity labels and respective label policy assignments.

Example – Create sensitivity label for Teams, SharePoint Online Site and M365 group

For Microsoft Teams etc. the process is similar but as you can see in the following screenshots, you can edit already created labels to add the capabilities for Teams if there were labels already in place.

Edit existing labels
Check Group & Sites
Decide for each label how you want to protect groups and sites
Decide on the privacy configuration and external access
Decide on the device access for unmanaged devices
Now you’ve got some labels

Here you must not forget to also configure SharePoint Online for this to cope with unmanaged device access to make it work.

Also, if you haven’t yet published labels, you’ll have to publish the newly created labels.

Please note, that it can take several hours for this to appear, I’d recommend waiting approx. up 24 hours.

If you create a new [Teams] Team it should look like this with the sensitivity label option
In Azure AD groups you can also see and select a label for existing groups

Usage

The sensitivity label for Teams, SharePoint Online Sites and Microsoft 365 groups can than be applied/selected in the creation process in case you assigned the sensitivity label policy to the users which should be able to apply it.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Sensitive labels are another good concept and means for your holistic security architecture concept to protection your organization’s information. It’s a central aspect for your Microsoft 365 service and information protection. However, the entry barrier is high because of the license requirements to use this advanced security capabilities.

Additional resources

Google Workspace

In today’s post I take a look at and provide an overview of Google’s Workspace, formerly known as G Suite, for communication and collaboration.

Please note, the described tools, services and subscriptions might be subject to change at any time.

What’s Google Workspace?

Google Workspace is a set of tools and services for productivity. It includes the following major cloud communication and collaboration capabilities:

  • Gmail | Send and receive mails
  • Calendar | Calendaring
  • Meet | Interactive online meetings
  • Chat | Chat and group messaging
  • Drive | Store and share documents and files
  • Docs | Create documents
  • Sheet | Create spreadsheets
  • Slides | Create presentations
  • Forms | Create forms
  • Sites | Create websites
  • Keep | Notes and lists
  • Apps Scrips | Automate and develop workspace scripts
  • Currents | Enterprise social network
  • Cloud Search | Workspace integrated search across enterprise files
YouTube – Google Workspaces Overview

Subscriptions and packages

Google Workspace is available in four packages on a per user/month price. There are offerings from small to large companies as follows:

  • Subscription | main differentiations per user subscription package
  • Business Starter | 30 GB cloud storage, video conferences for up to 100 attendees, mail, basic support
  • Business Standard | 2 TB cloud storage, video conferences for up to 150 attendees and recording, mail, upgradable basic support
  • Business Plus | 5 TB cloud storage, video conferences for up to 250 attendees incl. recording and attendee reports, mail, e-discovery and retention, advanced security and management features, upgradable basic support
  • Enterprise | unlimited cloud storage, video conferences for up to 250 attendees (incl. recording, attendee reports, noise suppression, internal live streaming), mail, S/MIME for mails, e-discovery and retention, advanced security, compliance, data loss prevention and management features, premium support

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Google’s Workplace offering obviously delivers a comprehensive cloud productivity suite at the first glance. In my opinion and for what I saw the subscription packages seem to be not as modular as offered by Microsoft 365. I also noticed some features and capabilities which are provided by default in Microsoft 365 with Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive etc., e.g. attendee reports for Microsoft Teams meetings and meeting recordings.

Additional resources

Team Templates for Microsoft Teams

This post is about Team templates for Microsoft Teams and how it can help you as an admin to deploy a Teams Team quicker and more standardized.

If you go to your Teams Admin Center (TAC), open the Teams section on the left hand navigation, you’ll see a new menu called Teams templates. That’s were you’ll find a list of pre-defined templates as well as the option to add your own and customized template based on your requirements.

Screenshot – TAC – Teams templates

The following screenshots show you how you can create a Team template by using the TAC.

Screenshot – TAC – Creation of brand new template

At first you can decide to create a brand new template, build a new template based on an existing one or use / modify an existing one.

Screenshot – TAC – Creation of brand new template

In this example I create a new customized template for the department research and development. Therefore I’ll prefix the template name with “template” (optional, maybe not ideal because it reduces readability by users if they are enabled to create a Team). Below you provide a short and long description that users will know what the template is for in detail as well as the language/locale.

Screenshot – TAC – Add default channels and apps usually needed

In case you know what apps are used typically and what channels are needed usually, you can create and add it as needed. To me, it makes sense to talk to someone from the department, e.g. team lead, department lead or else to figure out what’s needed if unclear.

In case you are busy and want to start with it you could either talk to the members of the team/department or you could, for instance, use Microsoft Forms and Power Automate to create some kind of survey to send it out and ask what certain users would like to have as template, if there is a reference team or else.

Screenshot – TAC – Newly created template is now listed

After saving it, the template will be listed in the template’s list. Please note, it can take some time till your users and you’ll be able to select templates in your Teams client for creation of a new [Teams] Team based on a template.

Limitations

At the time of writing this post there are some limitations regarding Team templates. I could not yet pre-configure the following:

  • Team membership
  • Team picture
  • Channel settings
  • Connectors
  • Files and content

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Using templates is a good way to get a Team in Teams more standardized and deliver what’s needed anyway by certain teams/departments/… The process to create a template is easy and one of many options to establish some [Teams] team baselines which can be further customized if needed by Team Owners. The biggest advantage I see is that users which need to create a team in Teams, e.g. for a project, but don’t do this regularly are supported by this feature or users which do this regularly will be more effective in creating teams in Teams because of the pre-configured templates available to them.

So stay tuned, Microsoft is planning to add more capabilities here as the documentation says. I’m personally looking forward to add files and contents in a template which might allow to add a “readme”, although it is probably better to create a app for this, e.g. learning pathways or a SharePoint site with some adoption contents as well as a Teams etiquette etc.

Additional resources

Microsoft Teams features by platform

Microsoft recently published a very comprehensive support articel which describes which platform supports what features. You can read about activity feed, notifications, calendar, calls, files, meetings, live events, messaging, search, shifts, status, Teams and channels, Teams for Education.​​​​​​​

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/lernen-hinweis-schule-betreff-3245793/
Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/lernen-hinweis-schule-betreff-3245793/

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Although the site exist the pace of change is fast, i.e. it makes sense to always watch out Microsoft 365 status updates, follow the common Microsoft Tech Blogs as well as monitor the Microsoft 365 roadmap.

Additional resources

Microsoft Teams Sessions @Microsoft Ignite 2020

On September 22 – 24, 2020 Microsoft Ignite takes places online. There are as usual hundreds of sessions. We can expect that there will be something for everyone. And everything without travelling. Is it great?

For Microsoft Teams there are also many sessions, i.e. featured sessions, digital breakouts and ask the experts. The latter provides you the opportunity to engage with Teams product and engineering experts. For these sessions you need to book your virtual seat in and so you should book as soon as possible because the space is limited. For details check out the links at the bottom. Enjoy Ignite 2020!

Created with https://teamsatignite.virtualbooth.co/

Additional resources

Enable resource account for outbound call in Microsoft Teams Call Queues and Auto Attendants

In this post I describe how you can configure call forwarding to external PSTN phone numbers for a call queue or auto attendant in a Microsoft Teams Direct Routing configuration. Microsoft released the capability to forward phone calls via a Teams Auto Attendant and via a Teams Call Queue to a phone number. Also, the operator can have a (external/PSTN) phone number.

In the past this was not feasible this way, therefore you had to implement a workaround by configuring a “forwarding user” to reach the goal. This is no longer necessary. I’ll show you some screenshots to depict what you’ve got now with Teams Calling and Microsoft 365 Phone System.

Teams Auto Attendant – Operator – External Phone Number Option

Teams Auto Attendant – Operator – External Phone Number Option

Teams Auto Attendant – Call Flow – External Phone Number Option

Teams Auto Attendant – Call Flow – External Phone Number Option

Teams Call Queue – Call Flow – Externa Phone Number Option/s

Within call queues you have two options to forward a call to a phone number. The first option helps to deal with more as the maximum set amount of concurrent calls in a queue. The second option helps to deal with calls waiting in a queue for a certain amount of time.

Teams Call Queue – Call Flow – Externa Phone Number Option/s

What do I have to do to make this work with Teams Direct Routing?

Easy, you have to do two things:

  1. assign a Virtual Phone System User license (!!!) (if not done yet) to the Teams Resource Account (also note the docs.microsoft.com statement saying, “Phone System licenses aren’t supported”, so assigning a E3 + phone system license might not work)
  2. assign an Online Voice Routing Policy to the resource account which is assigned to the call queue or auto attendant [with PowerShell]
  3. Wait for some time (as I was testing this, I configured this in the late afternoon and the next morning it was working as expected, this might be different and I’m not aware of a default duration till it is applied and will work)

I’ll not explain how to get and assign the license, I’ll explain the assignment of the Online Voice Routing Policy because at the time of writing this post, you have to assign the policy by using PowerShell.

Assign an Online Voice Routing Policy to a resource account

#Teams Direct Routing
#Enable resource account for outbound call in Microsoft Teams Call Queues and Auto Attendants
#Example code

Import-Module SkypeOnlineConnector

#Login
if ($cred -eq $null) {$cred = Get-Credential}
#W/O MFA: 
$sfbosession = New-CsOnlineSession -Credential $cred
#WITH MFA: 
#$SFBOsession= New-CsOnlineSession ADMIN-UPN
#Import module
Import-PSSession -Session $sfbosession -AllowClobber

#List Online Voice Routing Policies
Get-CsOnlineVoiceRoutingPolicy 

#Assign Online Voice Routing Policy to Microsoft Teams Resource Account for Teams Direct Routing
$user = "teams-resource-account@domain.tld"
$userovrp = "teams-direct-routing-online-voice-routing-policy"


Grant-CsOnlineVoiceRoutingPolicy -Identity $user -PolicyName $userovrp
#Get a cup or some more cups of coffee and wait!!!
#Check assignment 
Get-CsOnlineUser $user | select OnlineVoiceRoutingPolicy

<#Please note
although it's set quickly it can take quite some time till it is really applied, you can see this on the SBC SIP traces which still points to Teams phone system which is rejecting the referred call with a "403 Forbidden", it detail it states some like that there is no viable outbound route.
#>

Remove-PsSession $sfbosession

Conclusion, opinion and summary

I’ve been waiting for this for some time by now, and now that the feature is available, without creating a workaround, I like it. Especially, because you can also do some automation by using PowerShell for your cloud hotlines based on Microsoft Teams call queues and auto attendants.

Additional resources

Microsoft Teams Security and Compliance Video Playlist

In this post I like to reference to a comprehensive video playlist regarding Microsoft Teams Security and Compliance. It contains eight short videos covering different and important topics for your collaboration security focusing on Microsoft Teams. The author of the YouTube videos is Matt Soseman, Security Architect at Microsoft.

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/sicherheit-sichern-gesperrt-2168233/
Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/sicherheit-sichern-gesperrt-2168233/

Basically, Microsoft 365 services are secure by design, however there are settings and configuration aspects which might not yet be enabled by default. That’s why it is important to know what’s available to set it up to make your collaboration even more secure. Please find the link at the bottom Security & Compliance in Microsoft Teams [YouTube Playlist].

The following Teams related topics are covered in the the playlist:

  • Identity and access management
  • Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)
  • Intune Mobile Application
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
  • (Windows) Information Protection
  • Cloud App Security and third party storage
  • Cloud App Security and Azure Active Directory (AAD)
  • Unified SecOps w/ Microsoft Threat Protection

Conclusion, opinion and summary

The duration for each video is below six minutes although the most important aspects are mentioned. These videos are an impressive summary for security and compliance capabilities related to Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365.

In my opinion the videos are very good to get an overview on what security capabilities are available and to get a glimpse on how it works to help you.

Additional resources

Enable Microsoft Outlook Spaces (Preview)

In this post I describe what Microsoft Outlook Spaces (Preview) aka Project Moca is and how to enable the preview of it. Recently, Microsoft made Outlook Spaces available as preview.

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/lernen-hinweis-schule-betreff-3245793/
Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/lernen-hinweis-schule-betreff-3245793/

What are Microsoft Outlook Spaces?

Spaces is a new way and service to manage and organize yourself and others at a central placed and in a more appealing look and feel.

Key capabilities are as follows:

  • organize different things in one space in buckets
  • take notes, define tasks and track targets
  • save and manage files in OneDrive and other 3P storage services
  • create links, contacts and mails
  • manage and integrate Outlook tasks, Microsoft To Do, Teams and Office documents (Excel, Word, PowerPoint) centrally
  • manage calendars/appointments
  • add some gimmicks like locations and weather
Source: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/outlook-blog/organize-content-your-way-with-the-preview-of-project-moca/ba-p/1620329

How to enable Outlook Spaces (Preview)?

To enable Outlook Spaces you can connect to Exchange Online by using PowerShell and enable the feature for the default or better a certain OwaMailboxPolicy.

Please note: In case you want to test this you might want to create a new OwaMailboxPolicy and assign to a test user (group) and enable it than. I recommend to test this in your test environment first.

#https://docs.microsoft.com/powershell/module/exchange/set-owamailboxpolicy

Connect-ExchangeOnline

Get-OwaMailboxPolicy | fl name, *moca*
Set-OwaMailboxPolicy OwaMailboxPolicy-Default -ProjectMocaEnabled $true

#check user OwaMailboxPolicy assignment
Get-CASMailbox erik...@domain.tls | fl *owa*

Disconnect-ExchangeOnline

After enabling the preview it can take some time until you are able to test it. So, if you open Outlook Spaces you might see “Under construction”, which means that you need to be patient and check it again later.

Not yet ready in my tenant – need to wait

Update 2020-10-26

I re-checked a while after enabling the preview and noticed that Outlook Spaces are showing up in Outlook on the Web as depicted in the screenshot below.

Screenshot – Outlook on the web

After clicking on “Project Moca” the Outlook Spaces page opens.

Screenshot – Project Moca – Outlook Spaces

You then create Outlook Spaces to test it.

Screenshot – Outlook Spaces – Create a space from scratch or template
Screenshot – Outlook space for Microsoft/Office 365 Alerts

On the last screenshot I was playing around a bit with what you can do to organize mails and its content in buckets. It’s easy to put content via drag and drop from the right pane to the empty canvas and move it in your order as needed. To me it felt like a virtual dashboard where you can pin important content as need to “link” it or get an overview.

Additional resources

Microsoft 365 Adoption – Modern Collaboration Architecture (MOCA)

In this post I like to describe the Modern Collaboration Architecture (MOCA) and how it can help to embrace adoption of Microsoft 365 services for collaboration.

Source: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/tech-circle-technology-abstract-3041437/

What’s MOCA?

Can I drink it? No, it’s not mocca, the coffee which you might have heard of. Sorry, it does not mean that coffee boosts user adoption. MOCA is short for Modern Collaboration Architecture and it is intended to support in the question “Which tool when” based on Microsoft 365. MOCA is thought to be one part of a Modern Collaboration Practice in the business transformation to change the culture and mindset towards a digital business and organization. The Modern Collaboration Practice consists of four components:

  • Attention | “Helping employees manage their attention”
  • MOCA | “Using the right tool for the right job”
  • Communications | “How communications flow in an organization”
  • Customers | “Customer stories”

MOCA describes the dynamic of how we collaborate as individual, as part of a team, as part of a community and as part of an organization. The whitepaper explains this in more detail. Although MOCA points out what tool you can use when but it also says that this is not enough. On the contrary, it might cause an information overload for users just because there is so much (irrelevant) information and tools available.

To improve productivity the right tool must be available but also the mindset and culture in an organization must be ready for this. All the Microsoft 365 collaboration services and tools will definitely not solve all problems by itself, no, it provides the tool-set for users to be more productive and deliver business outcomes but to achieve this goal a organization must endeavor a cultural change towards a modern and digital organization.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

To sum it up, MOCA is a guiding approach for Microsoft 365 collaboration to learn “what use when” but it is incomplete. It’s supportive but the organizational change process must be triggered and initiated as well. The latter is something which is a long term goal and journey, which you probably heard before many times if not already working on it.

Additional resources