In this post I describe how you can enable, configure or disable direct end user communication by Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 provides a bit hidden service supporting user adoption and training. It’s called “Microsoft communication to users” and can be found in the Microsoft 365 admin center. By default it’s on but not sending out mails because it is not defined by default what kind of training mails should be send out to users.
In the following screenshots I’ll show you where you can enable, configure or disable the service.
First you’ll need to go to https://admin.microsoft.com and open the settings area in the left-hand navigation pane, as depicted below.
There you can navigate to
- Org settings
- Microsoft communication to users
At this page you can decide how to proceed, to leave it enabled and configure it (7) or disable it by ticking off the box (6).
In case you want to enable it you can configure what’s relevant for your users.
You can choose several training topics:
- Microsoft Office 365
- Microsoft Office apps
- New Office 365 training
- Outlook anywhere
- Microsoft Teams
After you’ve selected what topics are of interest you’ll get asked if you want to get a preview mail for approval before mails will be send to users. To approve end user mails each time with this approval mail process you need to tick the checkbox below the audience type.
Further, you can select who should receive the communication. At this stage you can select certain users or a group.
What if there are certain users which might not want to receive this communication?
Users can unsubscribe if they don’t want to receive the contents.
Conclusion, opinion and summary
The idea behind this is good. However, often companies create and provide their own customized content or user trainings which allows users to easily find what’s provided for them. At least that’s my experience. More and more companies establish a change management practice and have internal/external staff which take care of user training and adoption. Some organizations, they have already internal platforms for training purposes, not only for Microsoft 365. That’s why they tend to provide contents on an existing learning platforms and way instead of pushing out standardized mails directly from the vendor. The latter could also conflict with org wide settings, let’s say, something is not turned on in an org’s tenant and users get training content regarding this, it might cause irritations. Therefore, it’s relevant that you elaborate if you can use “Microsoft communication for users” or if it might collide with your existing learning concepts. In case there is no learning/adoption/training concept, you could consider “Microsoft communication for users” as an option to educate your users regarding Microsoft 365 related topics.
In this post I describe how you can fix a call loop and cause code issue with busy on busy enabled in Microsoft Teams Direct Routing in conjunction with a Audiocodes Mediant Session Border Controller. In one of my recent Teams Direct Routing deployments I came across an issue as soon as I enabled Busy on Busy in the Microsoft Teams Admin Center, as described in one of my previous blog posts, here.
- Microsoft Teams Direct Routing
- Audiocodes Mediant VE Session Border Controller (SBC) V 7.20A.256.721
- PSTN SIP Trunk Provider
- Microsoft Teams Busy on busy (BoB) enabled for the user/s
Enabling busy on busy on Teams caused call loops, many missed calles shown in the call history in the Teams client.
Usual calls incoming, outgoing, call forwarding etc. worked fine but after assignment of the policy including the enabled busy on busy the caller caused a “call loop” and many missed calls in the call history while the callee was still on a call with someone else.
Actually the above SIP flow looks ok but why on earth is the second caller’s number showing up that often? That’s the loop we get and the many missed calls as long as the called person is still busy on another call.
Usually, 486 Busy Here should be ok towards the PSTN SIP Trunk provider because this says “busy”. However, it did not really say “busy” or provide the “busy” tone to the second caller.
After some research I came across an helpful blog post from Luca Vitali describing a similar issue with the difference that he’s seeing this in a TDR deployment with a TDM PSTN trunk and a different cause code sent by Microsoft 365 Phone System.
So, I checked the SIP reason header in more detail for the “486 Busy Here”. Viewing the SIP message logs by using the SysLog Viewer I found REASON: Q.850;cause=34;text=”171015b7-8b51-4fca-b9c0-d5f052823334;User is busy and currently active on another call.” There I noticed “cause=34” which means “no circuit available”. Is this not ok? That could be the possible issue because Microsoft 365 Phone System sends the above in a BoB scenario and probably the PSTN SIP Trunk provider looks not only on the “486 Busy Here” but also in the details of the Reason including the Q.850 cause codes which does not include the right code for “busy”.
So, just set up a message manipulation rule on the Audiocodes SBC to change the cause in the SIP reason line.
Example of the message manipulation rule to change the Header Reason Cause Code:
[ MessageManipulations ] FORMAT Index = ManipulationName, ManSetID, MessageType, Condition, ActionSubject, ActionType, ActionValue, RowRole; MessageManipulations 2 = "MM-Teams-486BusyHere-34-17", 1, "Any", "Header.Reason.Reason.Cause == '34'", "Header.Reason.Reason.Cause", 2, "'17'", 0; [ \MessageManipulations ]
This message manipulation rule is based on the message manipulation set id assigned to the IP Group for Teams as an inbound message manipulation.
Please note that the above is just provided as-is and might require adjustments for your deployment. Also, the above manipulation of the cause code might be adjusted if Microsoft Phone System was changed and it sends out another cause code in the Reason Header. I thought of using “…!= ’17′” to always change the cause code in the Reason Header but that’s no good idea because it can cause other issues.
After the message manipulation was implemented I successfully re-tried.
And also the SBC SIP flow is now fine, no more loops due to BoB and the second caller gets his regularly busy tone.
It’s also an option to remove the reason header instead of changing the Header.Reason.Reason.Cause.
In this post I describe what safe documents in Microsoft 365 are, how you can configure it and why you should enable this in your Microsoft 365 tenant.
If you are not yet familiair with safe attachments and safe links you might want to read my previous post Safe attachments and links to protect your Office 365 collaboration first.
What are safe documents?
Safe documents are a Microsoft 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) feature. It protects your users from opening malicious documents which might harm your users data, privacy or even your complete IT infrastructure depending on what malicious document content is opened. ATP checks before opening it and avoids a user to open a document or leave the protected view in case ATP has recognized anything potentially malicious.
Why safe documents?
It adds another valuable layer of security for your users and infrastructure which kicks in even if someone opens a document which was not caught or categorized as malicious before by other security mechanisms. It might be the last barrier and defense if someone (accidentally) opens a document in your company to avoid a security incident with corresponding consequences for your company.
What’s required to use this capability in Microsoft 365?
Safe documents are an advanced security feature which requires the following:
- Microsoft 365 E5 or Microsoft 365 E5 Security
Microsoft emphasizes that it is not in Office 365 ATP plans
- Organization Management or Security Administrator role in M365 (for configuration)
- Office Version 2004 (12730.x) or later
How to configure it?
If the requirement are met you can configure and test it. By default it is turned off.
Please note configuring this will enable this for your complete Microsoft 365 tenant and therefore for your complete organization.
Enabling it via Admin Center
Maybe DON’T tick the checkbox “Allow people to click through Protected View even if Safe Documents identifies the file as malicious”.
That’s it now it’s live.
Enabling it via Shell
Alternatively, you can also enable this using Exchange Online PowerShell. Example:
#Install Module Install-Module -Name ExchangeOnlineManagement #Check Module availablity on system Get-Module ExchangeOnlineManagement #Update Module Update-Module -Name ExchangeOnlineManagement #Import Module Import-Module ExchangeOnlineManagement #Connect to EXO with MFA enabled Connect-ExchangeOnline -UserPrincipalName <UPN> -ShowProgress $true #Enabling safe documents but prevents users from leaving protected view Set-AtpPolicyForO365 -EnableSafeDocs $true -AllowSafeDocsOpen $false #Check values Get-AtpPolicyForO365 | Format-List *SafeDocs* #Disconnect from EXO Disconnect-ExchangeOnline #Uninstall Module Uninstall-Module -Name ExchangeOnlineManagement
Validating it with Shell
Due to the fact that I’ve configured this in the Admin Center I’m just checking if the settings is set as expected.
And there we go, it’s set.
Conclusion, opinion and summary
It’s very easy to configure however the licensing and client requirements are quite high. In case you met the licensing requirements you can enable it (with previous planning and testing).
Also note, you should check what your antivirus (av) client might do. In case you running a third-party av client. I did not test this having a third-party av client plus this enabled. I’d assume there should be no conflicts but there can be conflicts. So, I would not directly enable this in production without previously testing this maybe in a test tenant and a test client to ensure it works as expected before going live with safe documents.
Soon, Microsoft Teams Meeting Rooms (MTRs) will be (remotely) managable via the Teams Admin Center, as described on the Microsoft 365 Roadmap [ID 64022].
- update settings for Team Room Devices
- monitor and check health status of Teams Room Devices incl. peripherals (camera, mic)
- troubleshoot a MTR by remotely restart the devices
- troubleshoot a MTR by remotely download logs
I assume that the admin experience will be similar to what is already available to manage Microsoft Teams Phones and Collaboration Bars.
Microsoft soon enables you to schedule a Teams (or Skype for Business Online) Meeting by using Outlook on the web, Outlook for iOS or Outlook for Android. As of now, May 2020, it looks like the feature on Outlook on the web is planned for the second quarter (Q2) 2020 and on mobiles (iOS/Android) for June 2020.
At the bottom of this post you can find the links to the user guide on how to create a Teams meeting in Outlook on the web/for iOS/for Android, to start right away scheduling Team meetings, as soon as it becomes available. So, you should, as usual, keep your mobile device and apps up-to-date.
Microsoft announced a virtual event called Microsoft 365 Marathon. It will take place online from May 27. – 28., 2020 an it will be 36 hours all about Microsoft 365. More than 300 speakers will present different topics. There’ll be over 400 session. Can it get better, yes, it’s for free. This is really impressive and definitely the suited format given the current circumstances. So, if you want to learn about Microsoft 365, I’d say that this virtual event is the one you should not miss. As far as I’ve seen there are all kind of sessions (depths) from overview to deep dive available, e.g. regarding working remotely, using live events, set up your corporate intranet, security and compliance and many more. You can read some more details and register via the Microsoft SharePoint Blog. Enjoy if you can make it!
In diesem Beitrag möchte ich aufzeigen, wie Microsoft Teams Direct Routing jetzt auch über das Teams Admin Center konfiguriert werden kann. Ich selbst bevorzuge weiterhin die Anlage mit der PowerShell, aber es ist gut zu wissen, dass diese Funktionen jetzt auch im Admin Center verfügbar sind.
Hinweis: Dieser Beitrag beschreibt einen aktuell verfügbaren Ansatz in Form einer beispielhaften Konfiguration. Wie einen Konfiguration vorgenommen werden muss, kann variieren (je nach Anforderungen) und sich auch jederzeit seitens Microsoft 365, Teams etc. verändern.
Microsoft 365 Telefonsystem an einen zertifizierten Session Border Controller (SBC) für Microsoft Teams Direct Routing (TDR) anbinden.
Design und Umfang
In diesem exemplarischen Beitrag zeige ich nur wie die Verbindung vom Microsoft 365 Telefonsystem zum SBC eingerichtet werden kann (gelb). Die Konfiguration eines SBCs, mögliche Anpassungen und Feinjustierungen werden hier nicht weiter beschrieben. Am Ende wird noch ein Cloud-only User Account eine Telefonnummer und die Voice Routing Policy zugewiesen.
Auf Details, was TDR ist, Voraussetzungen und wie zu lizenzieren ist gehe ich hier nicht ein.
Zu konfigurieren sind
- ein Teams PSTN Gateway (SBC),
- PSTN Usage,
- Voice Route,
- Voice Routing Policy
- und zuletzt muss die Voice Routing Policy dem User zugewiesen werden.
Wir beginnen im Microsoft Teams Admin Center (https://admin.teams.microsoft.com) als globaler Admin, aber auch schon die Teams-Administrator-Rolle (Teams Service Administrator) reicht hier und berechtigt für die Konfiguration.
Nachstehend zeigen die Screenshots den “Konfigurations-Pfad” und in jedem Screenshot werden die Schritte beginnend mit “1” aufgezeigt.
Bei “Dialed number pattern” kann ein bestimmter regulärer Ausdruck via RegEx definiert werden, um basierend von Teams ausgehende Anrufe auf einem bestimmten “Muster” zu prüfen, um hier eine Routing-Entscheidung für diese oder eine mögliche andere Route zu treffen. Ich lasse dies hier mal absichtlich leer. Wenn User komplett E.164 (also mit +49… ) wählen sollen oder einfach alles akzeptiert werden soll, kann hier z. B. .$ (any) o.ä. verwendet werden. Je nach Bedarf.
Nach dem die Voice Routing Policy zugewiesen wurde, kann es eine Weile* dauern bis, in diesem Beispiel James, telefonieren kann. Natürlich muss hierfür der SBC bereits konfiguriert und funktionsfähig sein. Auch die richtigen Lizenzen und Policies (Calling Policies) dürfen für die User nicht fehlen. Nicht zu vergessen, dass der oder die Benutzer noch eine Telefonnummer zugewiesen benötigt.
*eine Weile kann von ein paar Minuten bis hin zu mehreren Stunden sein. Ich habe schon unterschiedlich lange Bereitstellungszeiten festgestellt.
Letzteres geht aktuell leider (noch?) nicht via Teams Admin Center. Dazu benötigt es noch die SFB Online PowerShell außer ich habe SFB Server (Hybrid) und meine Rufnummern werden noch vom onpremise Server via AAD Connect übertragen (msRTCSip-LineURI…). Doch hier gibt’s dann noch ein paar weitere Aspekte zu beachten.
Zuweisung der Telefonnummer und Voice Routing Policy via PowerShell
Die Zuweisung der Voice Routing Policy und Telefonnummer kann per PowerShell erfolgen (via SFB Online Connector), nach dem das SFBO PowerShell Modul heruntergeladen, installiert und verbunden wurde. Wenn man das nachstehende etwas umbaut, kann hieraus einfach über ein CSV-Import und eine foreach-Schleife ein Anlage und Zuweisung von Benutzern im größeren Stil erfolgen.
#Verbindung zu SFBO aufbauen (mit MFA) Import-Module "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Skype for Business Online\Modules\SkypeOnlineConnector\SkypeOnlineConnector.psd1" #Import-Module SkypeOnlineConnector $SFBOSESSION = New-CsOnlineSession Import-PSSession $SFBOSESSION
#Voice Routing Policy zuweisen Grant-CsOnlineVoiceRoutingPolicy -Identity "James" -PolicyName "VoiceRoutingPolicy-Germany-Stuttgart”
#Telefonnummer zuweisen Set-CsUser -Identity "james@...domain.de" -OnPremLineURI tel:+497119874563219 -EnterpriseVoiceEnabled $true -HostedVoiceMail $true
#Verbindung trennen Remove-PSSession $SFBOSESSION
Ich finde es praktisch, dass ich jetzt einen zertifizierten SBC auch über das Teams Admin Center verbinden kann. Wieso ich aber Usern noch keine (TDR) Telefonnummer auch über das Teams Admin Center zuweisen kann, ist mir ein Rätsel. Hierfür muss ich wieder in die PowerShell wechseln. Das finde ich etwas umständlich. Dann mache ich es aktuell doch lieber noch per Shell, da ich mit der PowerShell die Ansichten nicht wechseln brauche.
Ich hoffe, der Beitrag gibt eine grobe Übersicht, wie (aktuell Mai 2020) ein SBC für TDR an das Microsoft 365 Telefonsystem angebunden werden kann.
- Microsoft Teams Telephony Licensing Notes [Update April 2020]
- How to connect analog devices to Microsoft Teams?
- Konfigurieren des VoIP-Routings für das direkte Routing
- Skype for Business Online, Windows PowerShell Module
- Download and install the Skype for Business Online Connector module
- Manage Skype for Business Online with Office 365 PowerShell
- Direktes Routing für Telefonsysteme
In this post I point out what you can do to secure your Microsoft 365 guest access or guest identities for a secured collaboration experience. Guests in Microsoft 365 are external persons or identities which you can enabled to access defined Microsoft 365 resources, e.g. to work together in a project by using a Microsoft Teams Team. This is very beneficial for a more in-depth collaboration in project teams which include several external stakeholders from other companies like external project managers, subject matter experts, suppliers or others. By enabling guest access for specific scenarios and workloads you can easily work together across companies, if required. So, your employees do not need to find another way or a (#ShadowIT) workaround to do this which does not align with your company’s compliance.
I often have discussions regarding collaboration security on external (guest) access. So, what’s the answer to convince all from guest access? Well, let me put it that way, there is never an “one size fits all” answer, definitely not. Company A is not the same as company B. There might be similar processes, requirements, collaboration strategy goals or else but it’s still different, of course. The people, the services, the products, the vertical etc. are different. To keep it short, B2B collaboration with guest access is an excellent feature but usually requires a different implementation approach depending on the company. Sometimes a basic implementation is sufficient, sometimes you need to establish a new organizational process in varying complexity including B2B collaboration governance and so on.
Please note, that is is just one of many measures to secure your communication and collaboration in Microsoft 365. This is only a single part of a more holistic and required security architecture concept. Moreover, the below description, configuration etc. might change at anytime and is just an example, demo piece.
Limitations for guests
Guest are a “special” member type in Azure AD and M365. So, there are some limitations by design for guests you should know of. For more please read What are the default user permissions in Azure Active Directory? and Guest access in Microsoft Teams [links at the bottom].
- Per licensed user you can add up to five guests (1:5 ratio)
- Guest user permissions in Azure AD are limited by default*
- cannot browse other tenant information
- but can view their own profile
- but can retrieve input on other users if he/she searches for a UPN or object ID
- Guest user permissions in Office 365 groups are limited
- Guest user permissions in Teams are limited
- no One Drive for Business
- no people search outside of Teams
- no calendar
- no meeting scheduling
- no pstn/telephony
- no org chart
- no teams creation/revision
- no teams browsing
- no file upload in P2P chats
*unless you assign any admin role to a guest. So be cautions. Don’t.
What you can do to secure your Microsoft 365 guest identities?
Microsoft added a very good article in the documentation Create a secure guest sharing environment [link at the bottom] which describes the key elements you must take into account for your B2B collaboration and guest access configuration.
- enforce multi-factor authentication for guests
- provide terms which guests musts agree on
- regularly review permission needs are still valid
- restrict access for guest to web-only / browser-only
- set session timeout to enforce regular/daily authentication by guests
- classify content by using sensitivity labels
- auto classify defined sensitive information to highly confidential
- auto remove guests access from files labeled high confidential
Conclusion, opinion and summary
Guest access can be vital for your company and employees to easily work together with external stakeholders. If required. It must be secured.
To provide guest access, I think it is a good idea to establish a organizational process that internal employees must request guest access for an external person via an approval process. The latter could be accomplished by using Power Automate with Forms or Power Apps. Onboarding or adding a new guest should be based on the approach which Microsoft provides in Create a secure guest sharing environment [link at the bottom]. To complete the guest user life cycle the identity should be audited and monitored regarding permission needs and activities, so that either certain permissions can be removed or that an guest account gets disabled or even deleted depending on usage/activity/last logon or other criteria.
- Create a secure guest sharing environment
- Enable B2B external collaboration and manage who can invite guests
- Add Azure Active Directory B2B collaboration users in the Azure portal
- Auditing and reporting a B2B collaboration user
- Manage guest access with Azure AD access reviews
- Microsoft 365 guest sharing settings reference
- Microsoft Teams guest access checklist
- What are the default user permissions in Azure Active Directory?
- Azure Active Directory B2B collaboration licensing guidance
- Guest access in Microsoft Teams
- What the guest experience is like
- How to secure Microsoft Teams? Some thoughts.
- Safe attachments and links to protect your Office 365 collaboration
In this post I like to point out some updated licensing options for Microsoft Teams regarding telephony, common area phones and meeting rooms.
The hereinafter described license options might be subject to change. Moreover not all licenses or subscriptions are available in every country around the globe, especially calling plans and audio conferencing (shortened: Audioconf.).
Teams Licensing Basics
- Microsoft Teams is a single service of the massiv Microsoft 365 services stack which it tightly linked and integrated within this service stack.
- Microsoft Teams is part of a “packaged” Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions by default.
- Microsoft Teams “replaces” Skype for Business Online (SFB Online EOL date July 31, 2021). The Skype for Business Desktop Client within Office 365 ProPlus is also obsolete, meaning that new (full) Office 365 ProPlus installation will get a Teams instead of a Skype for Business Client.
The following slides and drawing are intended to provide you with an overview on licensing options. I also point out what you should take into account in case of Teams Direct Routing (TDR), in this post and following drawings I call a TDR scenario a “hybrid” scenario.
Telephony with Teams (for users)
Call Queues (CQ) and Auto Attendants (AA)
Resource accounts for CQ/AA need a license. Till 01.07.2019 you had to license these users with typical user licenses. Now you can buy and assign a free “Phone System Virtual User license”.
At the bottom I’ll add a link to a well-written how-to post “Add a free licence to Call Queues and Auto Attendants (Microsoft Teams)” from ucgeek.com which describes how to buy and assign the license.
Teams Common Area Phone (CAP)
Teams Meeting Room
Conclusion, opinion and summary
The above drawings quickly depict how you can license users, common area phones, meeting room devices and even call queues or auto attendants for Microsoft Teams.
- Microsoft Teams PSTN telephony licensing update for SMBs
- Microsoft Teams Licensing Notes [Update July 2019]
- Microsoft Teams Licensing Notes
- Add a free licence to Call Queues and Auto Attendants (Microsoft Teams)
- Office 365 licensing for Microsoft Teams
- Manage resource accounts
- Microsoft Teams Rooms licenses
In this post I like to highlight some new and planned Microsoft Teams features based on the latest roadmap updates by Microsoft. The last few days many updates were made to the Microsoft Teams roadmap. There are several neat feature updates for Microsoft Teams which will be rolled out soon, are rolling out now or which are already available. Let me give you an overview on these.
Meetings and live events
- end meetings | as an host you can now end meetings. So nobody can remain in the meeting to proceed or use the online meeting space.
- audioconferening dialin user number masking | PSTN participant phone numbers will be masked from external users [~May 2020]
- background effects in meetings | use background (pre-selected) images to enable other participants to focus on you and reduce distraction. later also custom background images.
- raise hands in Teams meetings | attendees can rais their virtual hand to notify the presenter that there is a person who would like to speak
- share system audio in a meeting
- share system audio in a live event
Voice / telephony
Microsoft 365 Business Voice | Microsoft 365 phone system capabilities are available for SMB organizations with up to 300 seats as addon license for the smaller licensing bundles (business plan/s).
So, also business plans are enabled to go for calling plans and/or Direct Routing to enable (pstn) telephony to/from Microsoft Teams.
Multi window chat | Ability to pop out a chat in a separate chat window
Microsoft adds Azure AD Premium Plan 1 to M365 Business plans which provides feature like
- conditional access,
- self-service password reset and
- multi-factor authentication (MFA) to secure your identities.
- Plus some more features like Cloud App Discovery (to discover used apps which you might were not aware that these are used within your company),
- application proxy,
- dynamic groups,
- passwordless auth (Windows Hello for Business, Microsoft Authenticator app, FIDO 2).
All this helps to make your communication and collaboration for your business more secure. Especially for SMBs (up to 300 seats). This is really compelling due to price and feature set. Until know you had to get enterprise plans for this to get the option to add these features to your Microsoft 365 deployment.
Conclusion, opinion and summary
Microsoft now really pushes out these features and changes to enable small and medium sized business (SMBs) to securely communicate and collaborate at a reasonable price. To me, MFA (for all) was long awaited in this licensing segment because nowadays MFA should be the imperative anyway.
- Azure Active Directory Premium P1 is coming to Microsoft 365 Business
- Microsoft Teams PSTN telephony licensing update for SMBs
- Microsoft Teams – end meeting for all participants within a Teams meeting [Featured ID: 63286]
- Microsoft Teams – PSTN participant phone numbers are masked from external users [Featured ID: 63309]
- Microsoft Teams – Share system audio in a Teams meeting [Featured ID: 50692]
- Microsoft Teams – background effects in Teams meetings [Featured ID: 62890]
- Microsoft Teams – share system audio in live events [Featured ID: 63276]
- Microsoft Teams – raise hands in Teams meetings [Featured ID: 62755]
- Microsoft Teams – Multi-Window Chat [Featured ID: 57292]