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Microsoft Readies Guest Access for Teams

Microsoft on Monday announced it has started rolling out a guest access feature in Microsoft Teams.

The ability to have guests in Teams requires that an organization have a particular subscription, but no separate licensing is needed for the guests. Here's how it was explained in this "Guest Access in Microsoft Teams" document:

Guest access is included with all Microsoft 365 Business Standard, Microsoft 365 Enterprise, and Microsoft 365 Education subscriptions. No additional Microsoft 365 license is necessary.

Guests can't just join a Teams group. They have to get an invitation first, which can come from either a "team owner" or a Microsoft 365 administrator, Microsoft explained in this "Guest Experience in Teams" document. The permissions allowed to guests are determined by Azure Active Directory policies, and there are three options:

  • Guests can have the same access permissions as members.
  • Guests can have "limited access" in terms of "enumerating users, groups, or other directory resources using Microsoft Graph."
  • Lastly, guests can be restricted to only being able to access "their own directory objects."

Even though the first option seems to give guests lots of privileges, the guest category has some inherent restrictions, which are listed in two tables in the "Guest Experience in Teams" document. For instance, guests can't access OneDrive storage. They can't create meetings or access schedules. They can't create teams, become team owners or create policies.

Guests also get identified during Teams sessions. A "Guest" label appears next to their names.

Any user that has an Azure AD account can participate as a Teams guest. They can also participate if they have a consumer e-mail account, such as a Gmail.com or an Outlook.com account.

IT pros can find Microsoft's notice about this Teams guest policy change in the Microsoft Tenant Admin Portal. It's listed as Message Center post 234252.

Extensible Content Surfaces
In other Teams news, partner developers of apps for Teams now have three new "extensible content surfaces" they can work with to customize the Teams experience for end users.

These new content surfaces include:

  • Pre and Post meeting tab
  • In-meeting side panel
  • In-meeting content notification

The first option lets developers add things like polls before or after meetings. The second item, the in-meeting content side panel, provides an added space for meeting participants. The in-meeting content notification capability provides another means of engaging with meeting participants.

Various partner apps can run in Teams. However, Microsoft is also integrating its Office applications into Teams. Mentioned were Office apps such as Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and Word. Also being added are Stream, Visio and Power BI. Timing for these integrations wasn't described.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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