In this post I like to highlight that the public preview of shared channels in Microsoft Teams started to rollout out since mid March 2022. What are Shared Channels in Microsoft Teams? Teams Connect shared channels enable people who are not in the same Team to collaborate and communicate in a shared Teams channel. It can be used internally as well as externally. The advantage compared to guest access is that an external entity does not need to switch the Microsoft 365 tenant. However, it requires Azure AD B2B Direct Connect, some configuration but more importantly a holistic view including security and governance.

Source: Pexels.com

What are the key features of shared channels?

  • collaborate and communicate more focused across Teams stakeholders
    • without some Teams clutter which is not relevant for people (suppliers, customers, partners)
    • share only what’s relevant by using shared channels
  • channel conversations
  • channel meeting scheduling
  • file collaboration (sharing, co-authoring …)
  • app collaboration (using apps within the shared channel)
  • no tenant switching for external shared channel members

What are the basic requirements for Teams Connect shared channels?

The major requirements to get started are, if you have a Microsoft 365 and AAD in place:

Conclusion, opinion and summary

The impact on the organization is huge. The potential collaboration benefits are huge if implemented, operated, audited and secured properly. There are more aspects and topics which must be taken into consideration before.

Especially, in regards of security. Even if you just plan to build a trust relation between your organization and another one excluding/disallowing others. Minimum security mechanism like MFA and Conditional Access should be in place, should be applied anytime without exception. Furthermore you might want to consider Azure AD access reviews and auditing etc. The whole lifecycle of a Team, shared channel and so on should be clear and actions should be defined before, not after. Furthermore, features to audit access (audit logs), to protect data loss (data loss prevention), to retain data (retention policies) should be in place as well and the last but not at least sensitivity labels to assign files with a fitting label (e.g. public, internal-only, confidential, and restricted).

Additional resources