Last week I floated the idea of starting a weekly newsletter covering the latest with Microsoft Teams. I received some great feedback and encouragement to do so, but until I get the logistics of a newsletter completed, for now the information will be presented as a blog post. Enjoy!

This week marks another record breaking week for Microsoft Teams usage as more people are working from home. Microsoft released this week that on March 31, 2020, Teams hit a record of 2.7 billion meetings minutes in a single day. Check out more of the stats in this post by Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365:

Remote work trend report: meetings

With increased scrutiny on Zoom meeting security, Microsoft also released guidance regarding meeting security best practices and the multiple regulatory and industry standards that Microsoft Teams meets.

For IT professionals: Privacy and security in Microsoft Teams

Road Map Update

The features keeping coming this week as Teams adoptions increases and Microsoft wants to capture the opportunity to show the best that Teams provides.

Download a Participant Report in a Teams Meeting

A major thing missing for a meeting organizer is knowing who attended their meeting. Slated for release in April 2020, you will soon be able to download a participant report of the roster view that includes the join and leave times of attendees.

Local Media Optimization for Microsoft Teams

Are you using or considering Direct Routing? Now your calls can connect to the internal IP address of the SBC, not the external public IP of the SBC that may hairpin off your firewall. Learn more in this LinkedIn article by Nikolay Muravlyannikov.

Raise Hands in Teams Meetings

Need to speak up during a meeting but don’t have the opportunity? Now you can raise your hand to indicate you have a question or comment. When raising your hand, an icon will appear next to your name in the roster view, and both the hand raiser and a presenter can lower the hand.

Also another nice add-on is the ability to end a meeting. This option is available when selecting the three dots to access additional meeting options:

Finally, the ability to block users’ ability to change their pictures inside the Teams client is now being deployed. This will honor the Exchange OWA Mailbox Policy setting configured by tenant admins on whether or not users can change their profile pictures. Teams had a gaping hole in allowing users to bypass other controls in organizations that required specific pictures for their user accounts. This is now listed in the feature availability table found in the Docs page How Exchange and Microsoft Teams interact.

Blog Posts

Users will be able to pop-out individual chat conversations into a separate window, so you can continue chatting while working in different apps inside Teams. For now, the conversations will each have their own window, no word on tabbed conversations. Tony Redmond has also documented what this feature will initially look like.

Background blur during a video call has been a great feature in Teams, but coming this month will be the ability to have a custom background to truly hide your surrounding area. In the initial release, the available backgrounds will be default ones available from Microsoft, but Tony Redmond has documented a workaround to upload your own. What’s missing is what administrative controls are going to be available for this feature.

MVP Tom Arbuthnot also released a great article on interpreting the Teams PSTN Usage report inside the admin center:

Understanding the Microsoft Teams PSTN Usage Call Records Report\Bill for Calling Plans and PSTN Audio Conferencing

Office 365 networking extraordinaire Paul Andrew announced this week an update to the Office 365 Network Onboarding tool. It now detects the use of a VPN and if the VPN has split tunneling enabled, which is recommended for connecting to Office 365 services. This is a timely release with more people working from home and having their traffic tunneled and double-encrypted back to their office’s data centers before being sent to Office 365. This is a super important topic to discuss, especially with Teams audio and video as this is real-time traffic that needs to get to its destination as quick as possible.

Tip of the Week

Megan Strant on Twitter (@MeganStrant) outlines how to set a custom status message and how to schedule clearing the message after a specific time period.

Training

And finally, I’m super excited my first course is now available at PluralSight! The course, Managing Microsoft Teams Phone Numbers and Systems, takes you through the ins and outs of working with phone system, calling plans, and audio conferencing inside of Teams. If you don’t have a PluralSight subscription, it’s currently free for the month of April for new subscribers, no credit card needed! Check it out as I would love to hear any feedback.

Questions or comments? If so, drop me a note below or find me on Twitter or LinkedIn to discuss further.

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