The Ever-Expanding Teams Experience
Microsoft announces an abundance of features at Ignite
Perhaps you’ve heard of the famous Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. If you visit, you’ll hear the story of a house that was continually being expanded and improved upon over the course of more than three and a half decades – it is said that construction continued non-stop day and night. The mansion includes some fascinating features as well as innovations that were far ahead of their time. Sounds a bit like Microsoft Teams.
At Microsoft’s recent Ignite conference, so many new Teams features were announced that they had to be grouped by category: There are upcoming enhancements to meetings, as well as webinar features; upgrades to chat and collaboration; more robust security, compliance, and privacy; calling features; new devices; and changes to power platforms, custom development, and management.
There are both user and back-end improvements, as well as upgrades that target specific sectors like education. Before we dig into the security, administration, and management updates that impact IT teams and MSPs, we wanted to highlight webinar controls that you or your customers can use to build business.
Webinars – Meetings on steroids
Sharing your insights and expertise with customers via a webinar is a great way to build your business. Microsoft’s goal is to make setting up and running a webinar just as easy as conducting a Teams meeting. Webinars have requirements that set them apart from regular meetings, including the need for attendee management and presentation controls.
Now, when you set up a webinar in Teams, you can easily add a custom attendee registration page that generates an automatic email confirmation. An attendee report is available at the end of the webinar to help webinar planners see who attended and for how long. Webinar moderation and presentation controls have been introduced to assure a quality experience for both presenters and attendees. Up to 10,000 and even 20,000 participants can be involved without concerns about disruption or distraction.
Looks like it’s time to try out webinars in Teams.
Security that puts users in control
On the security front, Microsoft is enhancing security with end-to-end encryption for VoIP calls and expanded multi-geo support. The end-to-end encryption option will be available for one-to-one Teams VoIP calls, and IT will have full control of who can use it in an organization. The feature will be expanded later in the year for online Teams meetings.
Microsoft Multi-Geo, which supports data residency requirements by allowing organizations to store data in their choice of geographic locations, is being expanded to include Microsoft Teams. This will allow organizations to specify where Teams customer data sits, down to the team and end user and helps organizations adhere to data sovereignty or specific compliance requirements.
In addition to these security enhancements, meeting organizers will have expanded controls to maintain order and increase privacy, including the ability to disable attendee video during meetings, a new lobby setting, safe links to protect against malicious sites, and the ability to co-author encrypted documents.
Behind the scenes with administrative enhancements
New Teams features may be exciting for users who want to experiment with new ways to collaborate, run meetings, or launch webinars. But there’s still plenty to do behind the scenes to support them. Microsoft is rolling out a number of enhancements that will keep things running smoothly as users continue to up their collaboration game.
Users don’t usually spend much time thinking about security threats to their meetings, and Microsoft wants to keep it that way. The new AI-driven Teams Room management uses Microsoft Defender for Endpoint to provide advanced threat protection and incident detection, taking action as needed to keep rooms secure. Real-time telemetry for meetings enables IT admins and helpdesk to troubleshoot problems during meetings and events.
Microsoft is also introducing a number of new administrative enhancements to support and manage users. These include remote device provisioning, guest user access and reviews, custom policy packages, Teams user usage reports with added privacy, and app risk evaluation.
And Microsoft continues to build! Teams isn’t a Mystery House, but you can almost hear the continous banging of hammers and the hum of saws as the platform is expanded and enhanced with new innovations.
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