In this post I give you an architectural overview on thoughts, ideas and options to a more secure communication and collaboration experience with Microsoft Teams.
It’s inevitable to provide a secure, modern and usable (!) solution for your users, your company and keep identities and [information] assets secure. I want to emphasize usable because you can surely set up a highly secure service, however, if you do so, nobody might be able to use it because you locked it too restrictively. So, this will probably cause other headaches, first of all users need to get work done and might workaround that highly secured service [just using anything else which they find online]. No adoption. Hence, the added value of the communication and collaboration solution and the ROI will never be achieved. That’s why you need to figure out a suited balance between security and collaboration.
Microsoft Teams as part of the Microsoft 365 cloud services can leverage these comprehensive security features to enable a secured communication and collaboration. Besides the fact that Microsoft encrypts data in transit as well as at rest.
The following slides contain what you could do to secure your Microsoft Teams communication and collaboration experience by not giving up usability and a modern teamwork experience.
Beyond these basic security considerations in the slides you could, of course , also make further and more granular optimizations, for example …
- in the Microsoft Office 365 Admin Center
- in the Microsoft Teams Admin Center
- in the Microsoft SharePoint Online Admin Center
- in the Microsoft One Drive for Business Admin Center
- in the Microsoft Exchange Online Admin Center
- as well as in other Microsoft Admin Centers
Conclusion, opinion and summary
Microsoft 365 enables you to secure Microsoft Teams and Office 365 with the eligible licenses. There are many aspects around securing your modern teamwork experience. It starts with general identity and information protection and goes ahead with fine tuning Microsoft Office 365, Teams, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Yammer etc. There are some bigger and some smaller switches to be aware of and to configure modern teamwork secure. E.g. guest access, external access (federation), message policies, meeting/conferencing policies, app setup policies, app permission policies and many more. At least but not at last you also should think about monitoring and auditing so that you’ll be able to trace things in case it is required.
- Microsoft Teams Essentials for IT | Security and Compliance
- Overview of security and compliance in Microsoft Teams
- Microsoft Teams Security and Compliance
- Location of data in Microsoft Teams
- Introducing Conditional Access for the Office 365 suite!
- Microsoft Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
- Microsoft Cloud App Security
- Auditor Reports (Service Trust Portal)
- Microsoft Cloud Architecture Security Download
- Microsoft Cybersecurity Reference Architecture
In this post I provide an overview on key capabilities with modern meetings with Microsoft Teams. It enables you and your fellow co-workers for modern meetings [almost] anywhere, anytime and on [almost] any device.
Microsoft Teams offers you the following key capabilities for meetings but are not limited to these:
- online meetings
- audio conferencing
- video conferencing
- interactiv application and desktop sharing
- dialin phone numbers from 65+ countries around the world
- versatile clients and devices (mobiles, rooms, browsers, Windows, Linux)
- recording – transcript – for many languages (speech-to-text to transcript)
- calendar integration (Outlook, Exchange, Teams)
Do more with Microsoft Teams Meetings
Microsoft Teams enables for modern meetings so that you can easily communicate and collaborate, either in a planned or scheduled meeting. No matter if you are in transit, in a meeting room, at a desk or any other space. The things you need are the right equipment as well as a sufficient connection, i.e. Internet or in case you are in transit at least cell coverage to dialin by phone.
Microsoft and partners offer many certified devices for Microsoft Teams depending on your needs and requirements to get that modern meeting experience for your users. Therefore you can get a glimpse on the “Microsoft Teams enabled devices” page to explore and discover what kind of devices are available and what devices are suited for which meeting space or scenario.
Basically, there you can find
- Headsets | user devices
- Speakerphones | lightweight and compact user/room equipment
- Desk phones | IP phones for users, lobby or other user cases
- Room systems | for collaboration in meeting rooms and spaces
- Conference phones | for conference rooms
- Cameras | for users, rooms and other spaces
Conclusion, opinion and summary
Modern meetings with Microsoft Teams are easy and offer all the above key capabilities which are important to users today. Users get enabled to do more with Teams meetings and make meetings more productive and more fun, too, because client and device capabilities are available and easy to use and access with no frills and unhandy controls or preparation tasks for a Teams meeting. You can just meet, collaborate and focus on what you need to do.
Microsoft rolled out read receipts in Teams. It shows you if your messages were read or not. By default it’s enabled. You get a popup that read receipts is available and how it looks like. In this post I provide an overview.
In the Teams client settings you can disable or enable it depending on what’s configured in your Office 365 tenant.
Teams Admin Center
If required, a Teams administrator can configure read receipts by modifying Teams messaging policies in the Teams Admin Center as depicted below.
- By default, read receipts are on and the message policy configuration is set to“User Preference” which means that users can disable it within their Teams Client settings.
- Turned on for everyone: It’s enabled for all users and a user cannot turn it off.
- Turned off for everyone: It’s disabled for all users and a user cannot turn it on.
Limitations [January 2020]
The “Manage messaging policies in Teams” documentation says
- it is for 1:1 chat or chats with up to 20 people
- it is not caputered in eDiscovery reports
Conclusion, opinion and summary
It’s another neat feature to easily recognize if your chat message was read or not. Thus you can decide how to react, e.g. send a priority notification or make a call.
In this post I give you an architectural overview on how you can connect analog devices, e.g. fax machines, analog phones, door bells, intercoms etc. to Microsoft Teams.
First of all, I’d recommend to please get rid of your analog devices. Let me guess you are probably reading this because you have some of these poor and legacy analogs which you cannot get rid of for some reasons?
- If this is the case:
Well, ok, let’s go ahead to keep your existing investments in analog devices and get it to work.
- If not, i.e. you can get rid of them:
Skip this post and read something more interesting. 😉
The goal is to add analog devices to a Microsoft Teams voice/telephony deployment.
Use Cases – Analog Telephony with Teams user and PSTN
The uses cases are defined as follows:
- call from an analog device to a Teams user
- call from a Teams user to an analog device
- call from an analog device to a PSTN (external) phone (number) [e.g. mobile phone]
- call from a PSTN (external) phone to an analog device
In this architectural sketch you can see a high level Microsoft Teams Direct Routing deployment including an analog device which is connected via an anlog [device] gateway.
- [left] PSTN sip trunk [from your PSTN provider of choice],
- [center] a (certified) session border controller (SBC),
- [center] a analog [device] gateway
- sip trunk between analog gateway and SBC
- analog link (FXS, RJ11) between analog gateway and analog device
- [center-right] analog device [connect to analog gateway]
- [right] a Microsoft Phone System sip trunk
- [right] a Microsoft Teams User
What are the requirements for this? To keep it short, you need:
- Teams Direct Routing (TDR) [for details, please see Plan Direct Routing]
- Analog [Device] Gateway
Note: In case you have Microsoft Teams and utilize calling plans for telephony already but need these analog devices added you can add Teams Direct Routing to what you’ve got already.
Conclusion, opinion and summary
To sum this up, to connect analog devices to your Microsoft Teams deployment you need Teams Direct Routing (TDR). Then you can attach an analog device to an analog (device) gateway which is linked to a certified SBC for Direct Routing which handles the voice routing (from/to PSTN/Microsoft Phone System/analog gateway).
Microsoft plans to release federation between Teams and Skype (for consumer) in January 2020. This federation is in great demand. On Teams User Voice more than 3000 people voted for this. Except the description on the road map no further details are on docs.microsoft.com as far as I could see. However, I’m sure that there will be more details available as soon as the feature hits preview or general availability.
Teams <-> Skype (for consumer) Federation
What is the upcoming release of the federation between Teams and Skype (for consumer) probably like? As far as we can read in the road map it says that it supports chat and voip calls. I’d assume that this will be similar to what we’ve seen and experienced in the federation between Teams and Skype for Business at the beginning, e.g.
- peer-to-peer (p2p) chat
- peer-to-peer (p2p) voice calls
Conclusion, opinion and summary
In my opinion this is a good start for federation between Teams and Skype. I’m looking forward to it. In the past, for many Skype for Business (Server/Online) implementations the option to communicate with Skype (for consumer) was an important argument for globally distributed organizations with the need to communicate with freelancers, small agencies etc. In my view this federation option is another step to increase adoption and communication.
- Microsoft Teams – Teams/Skype Consumer chat and calling interop [Microsoft 365 Roadmap Featured ID: 53935]
- Skype integration (Consumer Federation) [Microsoft Teams User Voice]
- Microsoft Teams Federated Chat Experience Update 06-2019
- My Microsoft Teams Federation Notes
In this post I highlight the updated Microsoft whitepaper regarding the administration and governance of Microsoft Power Apps and Power Automate. It very extensiv with its 117 pages and covers topics from platform architecture to security and even user adoption (alias “Educate and Support”).
In my opinion, Microsoft’s Business Application Platform has become a very rich and incredibly valuable toolbox to empower people to do what they need in a more efficient and digital way as before. And all within the Microsoft 365 stack but extensible via interfaces/connectors/gateways to integrated with other external elements as needed.
- Power BI to visualize data
- Power Apps to build apps with no or low code
- Power Automate to create rich digital workflows
- Power Virtual Agents to build chat bots for customer dialog and interaction
Due to the fact that the Business Application Platform has grown and provides so many features it needs to be administrated, managed and governed as other services, too.
The whitepaper goes guides you through the following topics:
- Platform Overview
- Platform Architecture
- Platform Security
- Platform Monitoring
- Platform Alerts and Actions
- Platform Deployment
- Eduation and Support (Adoption)
Microsoft keeps on updating the document from time to time and of course the features. That’s why you should stay tuned and follow the Business Application Platform blogs.
Microsoft announced that there will be some enhancements to manage Microsoft Teams Phone System. So what are these enhancements?
Based on the lastest roadmap details the administration of Microsoft Teams Phone System will be improved in the following areas:
- Calling Plans administration
- search phone numbers
- acquire phone numbers
- assign phone number/s to users
- create emergency addressess
- assign emergency addresses to users
- Dial plan/s
- create custom dial plans
- test custom dial plans
- manage custom dial plans
- Dynamic Emergency Calling
- configure dynamic emergency calling
- Auto Attendants / Call Queues
- improved administration
- Microsoft Teams – Phone System Administration Enhancements [M365 Roadmap Featured ID 56786]
In this post I like to notify you about the release of the Microsoft Teams Client for Linux (DEB/RPM package) and it’s minimum hardware requirements. To run Teams on Linux you need to check that the minimum requirements are meet.
Microsoft Teams Linux Client (minimum) Requirements
- OS: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (with certain prereqs, see docs.microsoft.com), 18.04 LTS, Fedora 30 Workstation, RHEL 8 Workstation, CentOS 8
- CPU: > 1.6 GHz (32/64-bit)
- RAM: > 2.0 GB RAM
- Disk: > 3.0 GB available
- Screen resolution: > 1024×768 and > 128 MB GFX RAM
- Peripherie: camera, microphone, speakers (compatible endpoint equipment)
In this post I point you to a very helpful admin resource hub which offers you an entry point in case your are facing issues with Microsoft Office 365. There you’ll find information on troubleshooting for …
- Office 365,
- Teams and
- Skype for Business.
Conclusion, opinion and summary
In my experience the most common issues are related to things like
- Connectivity from/to Office 365 services,
e.g. a client cannot connect to certain IPs/URLs to use a certain service successfully and completely (!) etc.
- Not all prerequisites are satisfied, e.g. UPNs are not ok, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org or else.
- Misconfiguration/s of clients, e.g. GPOs to redirect an Outlook client always to an onpremise Exchange, not updated proxy pac files etc.
Before you start investigating you should always start to to ask some common questions, for example:
- How many users are affected?
E.g. does it affect a single user or all users at a certain branch site …
- Where are you (and the affected users) located?
E.g. Home Office, corporate premises …
- What’s the issue, could you please describe the issue in more detail?
E.g. my Outlook client asks several times a day for credentials …
- Did you try to connect from another network?
E.g. does the issue also occur if you use a network cable instead of WiFi? Or did you experience the issue only if you are working remotely from home?
- Did you try this from another computer?
In case you check all this you can then dig deeper into the related client or service to figure out what the (root) cause is and how to resolve it. For that, you might go to the related “Office troubleshooting for admins and IT professionals” page on Microsoft docs to proceed troubleshooting and issue resolution.
Below, I also added two helping tools, the well-known Remote Connectivity Analyzer and the Network Testing Companion. The first one is an online troubleshooting analyzer and the second is a PowerShell-based tool which enables you to check client connectivity towards Office 365, either directly within PowerShell or you can open the Network Testing Companion GUI (by executing Invoke-NetworkTestingClient in PowerShell).
In this post I like to highlight six Microsoft Teams (Voice) sessions from Microsoft Ignite 2019 which provide you with knowledge on what you should know about calling capabilities on Microsoft Teams. These sessions are very valuable and you should watch them if you plan, deploy or operate Microsoft Teams including voice workloads (telephony, contact center, …) in your enterprise. If you don’t have much time you might want to download the sessions’ slide decks, if available.
Microsoft Teams Voice Sessions Highlights
At Ignite 2019 there were so many sessions regarding Microsoft Teams with all kind of aspects and focus areas, e.g. adopting, planning, implementing, servicing, troubleshooting, developing etc. Hereinafter, I point you to six excellent sessions held by Microsoft employees from Ignite 2019.
- VCE10 Calling in Microsoft Teams
- VCE20 Updates for Direct Routing
- VCE30 Managing your Microsoft Voice Environment
- VCE40 Compliance Recording and Microsoft Teams
- VCE50 Contact centers and Microsoft Teams
- BRK3204 Troubleshooting Microsoft Teams [not only voice]