Microsoft Teams: Protect against Phishing & Malware

Pretend for a moment that I am a marketing agency you just hired, and invite me as a guest to a team in Microsoft Teams to collaborate. What happens if that guest’s account gets compromised and a bad actor gains access to your team in Microsoft Teams? Your organization is having sensitive conversations there, uploading sensitive files, and if that data were to be publicly disclosed, could do damage to the organization. More importantly, a bad actor can post hyperlinks to “phishing” web sites, and upload malicious files into Microsoft Teams – from there users can open the links or run the files, posing a serious threat to your organization’s security.

How do we help to protect against phishing attacks and malicious files in Microsoft Teams? Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection is here to help. In fact, Office 365 ATP can also help to protect against phishing and malware in not just Microsoft Teams, but Exchange Online, SharePoint, and OneDrive! More information in the Service Description here.

To configure, once the appropriate licenses have been purchased and assigned to each user, open the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center (protection.office.com) -> Threat Management -> Policy and click on ATP Safe Attachments:

Check the box Turn on ATP for SharePoint, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams and click Save:

 


Now, when a malicious file is uploaded to Microsoft Teams, Office 365 ATP will perform a detonation of the file (following this process). Here we have files in Microsoft Teams, are they malicious?

If the file is indeed malicious, when the user attempts to execute the file in Microsoft Teams, they will receive the following message:

Safe Attachments stops the user in their tracks, and never gives them the opportunity to launch the file. This same behavior also occurs when the file is executed directly from SharePoint. If using Office 365 Alerts (in the Security & Compliance center), and alert can be configured to notify the admin that malware was uploaded to Microsoft Teams:

Here’s what the alert looks like:

(Note, if using Microsoft Cloud App Security an SMS notification can be sent, and MCAS also offers integration into your SIEM.)

What about phishing links in Microsoft Teams? If the ATP Safe Links policy is correctly configured (more information here), then when a phishing hyperlink is posted, the user will receive a blocking message when attempting to click on the hyperlink. Let’s take a loot at this below, here’s a hyperlink in a team conversation in Microsoft Teams:

When the user clicks on the link, ATP Safe Links and the Intelligent Security Graph goes into action to provide protection. ATP recognized the website is malicious, and stops the user in their tracks, not giving them the opportunity to click through to the original website. (Although, that can be changed in the policy).

Conclusion:

Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection provides protection against advanced thread such as phishing and malware for not only your email in Office 365, but also Microsoft Teams! What if everyone had this enabled? The world might just be a safer place! Enjoy!

Next time you present to a room of people, try this! (and look like a Rockstar…)

Can you see the projection screen in a meeting? If you can’t would you agree it encourages multi-tasking?

(This was originally posted to my LinkedIn Blog)

Have you ever sat through a training class, a sales presentation, or just a regular business meeting and struggled trying to see the content on the projector or TV screen? If you have (like me) you probably are more apt to multi-task like check email, browse social media or work on another project. Why is this? Because if you can’t see the screen, you aren’t able to focus your attention and will probably lose interest.

I can’t see the projection screen clearly, so my interest is elsewhere. Sorry.

Have you presented to a room of people and had this happen? During your presentation you notice people on their laptop or smartphone and it immediately makes you feel that what you have to say isn’t important to them and it takes a hit on your self-confidence. I’ve had this happen to me one too many times (of course, don’t take it personally), but I have found the secret sauce to aid in (hopefully) preventing this from happening and immediately add value to your presentation. You want your attendees to walk away thinking that was a good use of their time.

The next time you give a presentation to a room full of people, plug into the projector or TV screen as you normally would. However, consider adding one more step to that process and start a new meeting using your favorite virtual meetings application (i.e. Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, WebEx, GoToMeeting, etc). Of course, I recommend Microsoft Teams as it’s the easiest method – and I’ll use that in my example below.

Share your desktop over Microsoft Teams in addition to showing on the projector/TV -your attendees will appreciate it…

By sharing your screen over a virtual meeting app, all of the meeting attendees will be able to see your content (PowerPoint, desktop,etc) with absolute clarity because it’s right in front of them on their computer screen (or smartphone/tablet…). Your attendees will appreciate it, especially those who are far from the projection screen such as the back row or end of the boardroom table.

So why do this?

  1. The main reason: your attendees, no matter where they are sitting, can see whatever you are sharing on your computer (PowerPoint, web browser, app, etc). They don’t have to squint at the projector. They will appreciate this (wouldn’t you?)
    1. It discourages your attendees from multi-tasking! (You can check this by walking around the room during your presentation/speaking and glancing down at computers. If you don’t walk around the room while presenting, consider it.)
    2. The attendees can take screen shots and add them to OneNote or their note taking application!
    3. Utilize the chat feature in Teams or the meeting app. Toss links to websites in there, document attachments and other content.
    4. Have attendees put questions in the chat – that becomes your parking lot for questions to follow up on later!
    5. You can now record the meeting and have full content in the recording (along with audio if you choose). Give to the attendees afterwards.
    6. It gets people talking about Microsoft Teams!

    WARNING: Don’t advertise ahead of time you are doing this, because people will not come to the meeting and will want to join at their desk or from home.

    It discourages multi-tasking, easier to see content, and adds immediate value to the presentation

    So how do I do this? Well, as mentioned before I use Microsoft Teams (hey, it’s included in Office 365 and there’s even a free version.) Consider it as it works PERFECT in a web browser for this). Let’s explore the process:

    Step 1, create the Teams meeting give it a name and invite one person (it can be a fake email, doesn’t matter). I’ll call mine “Screen Sharing for Meeting” and invite johndoe@contoso.com.

     


    Step 2, Create a short URL using bit.ly or other service This way, it will be super easy for your attendees to access the meeting. Right click on the Join Microsoft Teams Meeting hyperlink inside the body of the Teams meeting (blue text above in the picture) and select Copy. Browse to bit.ly and create a new short URL by pasting the Teams url in the box. Copy the shortened URL.

     


    Step 3, put the shortened
    URL in your PowerPoint deck as an intro slide. Create a new slide in your PowerPoint deck and right after your title slide, drop a slide in with the new shortened URL, like so the image below. Be sure to show this slide while your attendees are walking into the room.

 

 


Step 4, Join the Teams meeting and share your desktop or content. As you join the meeting, be sure to mute your mic! Also be sure to mute your speakers.

 


Step 5, have your attendees join the meeting. Remember, you DO NOT have to be on Teams to join a Teams meeting. The attendees will join as a guest, and takes seconds to do so. (no, you don’t need to invite them as a guest to your tenant/team) Instruct them to just use the web browser as it’s usually the easiest method (if they already have the Teams desktop app installed, fine). Remember, they can also do this on an Android, iPhone or iPad. As they join, mute their microphone or select Mute All in the meeting.

Now, just run the meeting as you normally would. Laptop plugged into projector and desktop shared over Microsoft Teams!

I’m curious, what are your thoughts on this? Have you tried this? Have you sat through one of my meetings where I did this (if so, what did you think)? Give this a try in your next meeting, you might be really surprised in the level of interest and interaction!

 


 

Ignite 2018: Matt’s list of recommended sessions

Microsoft Ignite 2018 is right around the corner, September 24 – 28 in Orlando Florida. While there are over 1591 sessions, I wanted to share with you the list of sessions that I will either be attending in-person or watching the on-demand version later when I get home. Please feel free to use this list to help create your personal schedule, or on-demand viewing list later. Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter @SosemanMatt and LinkedIn for updates while at Ignite. Here’s my recommendations from Ignite 2017 Enjoy!

Tip: Every year I spend ~200 hours watching Ignite sessions while running on the treadmill every evening or on an early Saturday morning to ensure I stay up to speed and keep my skills sharp. These sessions are addicting, and fun! They inspire me to go out and learn more, lab up a scenario, and gives me great stories to share with my peers, customers and partners.Click each session to be taken directly to that session’s page on the Microsoft Ignite website.

My Session: BRK3135 – Learn more about security and compliance for Microsoft Teams (Also working the Microsoft Secure Score booth throughout the week, come see me and connect!)

Must See:

THR2303 – How to Shift: Modern Desktop Deployment with Brad Anderson

GS008 – Microsoft security: How the cloud helps us all be more secure

GS006 – Modern teamwork: Transform collaboration and communications with Microsoft 365

GS004 – Simplify your IT management and level up with Microsoft 365

BRK3221 – Combat advanced cyber attacks with Microsoft Cloud App Security

BRK2158 – Elevate the security for all your cloud apps and services with the Microsoft CASB – Cloud App Security

KEY04 – Transform your workplace with Microsoft 365

BRK2295 – Sprint’s Microsoft 365 deployment acceleration strategies

BRK3401 – Azure Active Directory security insights with Conditional Access, Identity Protection, and reporting

BRK2468 – Security for your digital transformation

Office 365

BRK2102 – Better teamwork, together: SharePoint and OneDrive integration with Microsoft Teams

BRK2094 – The future of Yammer: Vision and roadmap

BRK2070 – New in Microsoft 365: Leadership engagement featuring live events

BRK2077 – Workplace Analytics & MyAnalytics: A review of data privacy and GDPR compliance

BRK2160 – The time for Teams: Scenarios to realize the value of Microsoft Teams

BRK2143 – Improving Health Team Collaboration using Microsoft Teams

BRK2140 – Accelerating GDPR compliance with Microsoft 365

BRK3398 – Best practices for a successful Video and Voice deployment on Microsoft Teams

BRK2440 – Citrix and Microsoft: Driving the future of work in the modern workplace, today!

BRK1059 – Enabling Firstline Workers with Microsoft Teams

BRK2393 – Get more done with Planner!

BRK2164 – The best (Outlook driven) day of your life

BRK2004 – The future of threat protection: Become efficient, cost effective, and more secure with Office 365 Threat Intelligence

BRK4002 – Securing your Office 365 environment from advanced phishing campaigns with Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection

Enterprise Mobility + Security

BRK3272 – Authentication and passwords: The good, the bad, and the really ugly!

BRK3401 – Azure Active Directory security insights with Conditional Access, Identity Protection, and reporting

BRK3285 – Deep dive into evolution of Windows app management with Intune

BRK3006 – Defend against mobile threats and increase user productivity with Intune-managed Edge browser

BRK2018 – Efficiently manage security with Microsoft

BRK3241 – Enable Azure Active Directory Conditional Access to secure user access while unlocking productivity across Microsoft 365

BRK2157 – Ensure comprehensive identity protection with Microsoft 365

BRK2157 – Ensure comprehensive identity protection with Microsoft 365

BRK3029 – Lessons from the field: protecting corporate data on any device with Microsoft Intune

BRK3103 – Manage and secure iOS and MacOS devices and apps with Microsoft Intune

BRK3117 – SecOps and incident response with Azure Advanced Threat Protection: Protect, detect, and respond

BRK4001 – Secure enterprise productivity with Office 365 threat protection services including EOP, ATP, and Threat Intelligence

Windows 10 Enterprise

BRK3018 – Deploying Windows 10 in the enterprise using traditional and modern techniques

BRK3038 – Windows 10 in S mode: Why you should care and how it works

BRK3039 – Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus lifecycle and servicing update

BRK3017 – What’s new in Windows 10 mobile device management (MDM)

BRK3211 – Ask the experts: Successfully deploying, servicing, and managing Windows 10

BRK2420 – Beat the Windows 10 deployment clock

BRK3019 – Delivery Optimization deep dive: How to reduce internet bandwidth impact on your network

BRK3014 – Modern deployment with Windows Autopilot and Microsoft 365 (Part 1 of 2)

BRK3015 – Modern deployment with Windows Autopilot and Microsoft 365 (Part 2 of 2)

BRK2002 – Modern desktop deployment and management with Microsoft 365

Microsoft Teams: Share my iPhone/iPad screen in a meeting! (While on the beach…)

You’re in a conference call while at the airport on your iPhone, and the meeting starts to discuss that important PowerPoint slide or document. You say “I’ll have to show you when I get back to my desk”. It would be really nice if you could share it from your iPhone while in the meeting. Well – now you can, with Microsoft Teams!

Teams enables you to share the entire screen of your iOS device when in a Microsoft Teams meeting! Watch the below video to learn more! Enjoy!

Microsoft Teams: Blur my background! (Please…)

Have you been on a conference call where everyone turns on their video, except for you? If you’re like me, I don’t like to turn mine on because of the messy house, or just ugly office behind me. Well – Microsoft Teams has you covered. You can now blur your background when in a conference in Microsoft Teams! You can now use video, and not  worry about what’s behind you. Watch the below 90 second video to learn more!

Microsoft Teams: Protecting against advanced threats

How well do you trust your employees? What about your vendors? I’m constantly coming across organizations that are storing intellectual property and other sensitive data in Microsoft Teams, so they can collaborate with that data in a centralized manner. I’m also learning that most of those organizations are enabling guest access, and allowing outside vendors to have access to that data and the resources within the team. A good example of this is an outside marketing agency that you contract with for event marketing, online marketing, etc. What if a guest of that team (or employee), accidently (or intentionally) uploads malware to the team (but masks it as a file called MarketingRoadmap.pptx), and an employee of the organization opens the file? The malware could now spread throughout your environment.

This is where Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) comes in. ATP can help to safeguard your organization from this threat by “detonating” (executing) files uploaded to Microsoft Teams (specifically the SharePoint/Office 365 Group on the back-end) to validate it is a legitimate file and contains no malicious code that can do harm. This feature comes with Microsoft 365 E5, Office 365 E5, or available as an add-on to an existing Office 365 subscription.

Too Long Don’t Read (TLDR):In this blog, I’m going to describe how to enable this feature, perform a test, and show you alerting. For details on how Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection for SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive works and it’s architecture, see the below diagram – and read the following article: Office 365 ATP for SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams

Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection Architecture:

How to enable Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection:

Note: I will not be discussing Office 365 ATP for Exchange Online.

To enable, simply browse to the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center (protection.office.com) -> Threat Management -> Policy and click ATP Safe Attachments:

Once in ATP Safe Attachments, check the box Turn on ATP for SharePoint, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams and click Save:

IMPORTANT: Review the Safe Attachment policies and configure as appropriate. Consider running Set-SPOTenant to DisallowInfectedFileDownload in PowerShell for the SharePoint tenant
to ensure the malicious files cannot be downloaded. For more information see Turn on Office 365 ATP for SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams

User Experience:

If a malicious file is uploaded, and detected by ATP, the user will be unable to open the file. If the user browses to the Office 365 Group or SharePoint site where the file is stored, and attempts to run from there, they will be presented with the following:

Setting up an alert:

As the admin, I want to be notified when this activity occurs. Using Office 365 Alerts I will create an Alert Policy to notify me so I can take action:


When the alert notification arrives via email, here is an example of what it looks like:

Clicking Investigate will launch the alert in Office 365 Alerts (notice I can suppress, or notify users):

Accessing the event via Threat Explorer gives me access to additional details and advanced analysis that could be helpful in my investigation of the threat:

Conclusion

Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection is one of the many layers in your defense in depth approach to cyber security, and with it’s ease of administration and use, it can be a valuable tool to protect your organization. Enjoy! –Matt Soseman

Microsoft Teams: Limit access to only managed devices and reduce risk!

It’s amazing watching the adoption journey of Microsoft teams among organizations and how it is quickly becoming a mission critical tool. For me, it’s mission critical because of the collaboration and teamwork that’s occurring inside, and the data that is being stored is quickly becoming the heartbeat of many organizations and their project teams. There is one challenge however with storing proprietary and sensitive data in Microsoft Teams, as users are accessing the data using the Teams app on not just their PC or laptop, but mobile devices and other (even unmanaged) computers as they perform their job – if that data is leaked/spilled/exposed or compromised, it could put the organization at risk, and as IT Professionals we need to help protect against this risk.

Not to worry – Azure Active Directory Conditional Access to the rescue! Using AzureAD Conditional Access, we will ensure Microsoft Teams is only accessed on devices that are managed, whether they are Active Directory domain joined, Azure AD joined or managed by Intune. This is very easy and straight forward to setup, let’s take a look together.

Important: Conditional Access requires AzureAD Premium. I won’t be discussing licensing requirements in this blog post, please reference this article for more information.

In the Azure Portal, I am going to create a new AzureAD Conditional Access policy with the following configuration:

  • Users and Groups: “All Users”
  • Cloud apps: (Include) “Microsoft Teams”
  • Conditions: Client Apps -> Configure “Yes” -> Select Client Apps -> check “Browser” and “Mobile apps and desktop clients”


  • Access Controls: Grant Access -> Check “Require Domain Joined” and “Require device to be marked as compliant”


Important: If you check “Require device to be marked as compliant” you must create a device compliance policy in Intune. This will ensure devices such as iOS, Android, Windows, Mac that try to access Microsoft Teams using either the app, client or website must be Intune MDM enrolled (which requires an Intune subscription). If accessed from a Windows PC and is Active Directory domain joined or Azure AD joined, require MDM enrollment will not apply. Here’s what an example Device Compliance policy looks like in Intune:


Back to Conditional Access…

 
 

  • Enable Policy: “On”


     
     

    Now the policy is created, let’s test this out. It should deny access to Microsoft Teams.

     
     

    From a Windows PC that is unmanaged (not joined to Azure AD, Active Directory, or MDM enrolled):

     
     

    From a Web browser:


    Notice the error reads “Windows device is not in required device state: compliant”

     
     

    From the Microsoft Teams Windows Desktop Application:


    Next, from an iPad Pro (iOS) that is unmanaged (not MDM enrolled):

     
     


Notice it gives me the option to enroll in MDM (Intune), pretty cool!

This is a quick and easy way to ensure that users are using Microsoft Teams on managed devices, where IT can control the configuration of the device and ensure the device is healthy and compliant. What’s more is this policy can be reversed and disallow users from using the Teams web client if that becomes a requirement. For additional fun, check out Microsoft Teams: Manage it using Mobile Application Management (MAM) and Microsoft Teams: Restrict Usage with Azure AD Conditional Access

If you have questions or feedback, let me know in the comments below. Enjoy and have fun!

Technical Readiness: Teams On-Air

You have heard me talk before how the Microsoft cloud is a dev ops platform and is constantly changing with new features being added frequently. Specifically, with Microsoft Teams it can be hard to keep up with what’s new, what’s coming and what has changed so you can be prepared to inform your organization. I’d like to share with you one method I use for keeping my technical readiness sharp around Microsoft Teams – and that’s Teams On Air

Teams On Air is a video and podcast series where Microsoft discusses the latest features and roadmap for Intelligent Communications in Office 365. Giving you the chance to participate in a live Q&A where your questions will be answered by experts from Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business. Teams On Air is every other Thursday @ 9AM PST. To join go to aka.ms/TeamsOnAir. Each episode will be made available for on demand viewing after the broadcast at aka.ms/TeamsOnAirReplay.

This is a great way to keep up to date on Microsoft Teams, and personally I make it a habit to watch the replays when I work out on the treadmill as it’s not only an excuse to work out, but forces me to actually watch the videos 🙂 In each video I always learn something new, and I appreciate how Microsoft takes the time to keep IT Professionals up to date on one of the hottest products in the service.

Enjoy!

–Matt Soseman

Microsoft Teams: Making meetings matter

When I first started in IT, the running joke (and more like a fact) was that in-person meetings always start 10 minutes late because of technical issues. The projector isn’t working, I don’t have network connectivity, why doesn’t my PC have the right resolution, I can’t find the PowerPoint deck, and so on. Then, during the meeting additional issues arise such as who’s taking notes, where will the notes be saved, can someone pull up that slide, <and insert your favorite issue here>. With the popularity of virtual meetings over the last decade, the story has certainly evolved to be more positive and easier to setup and have a meeting, and in many cases eliminating the delayed start altogether.

Recently I have been thinking differently about how to have a meeting and how to make my meetings richer, more valuable for my attendees and frankly make them matter. With the introduction of Microsoft Teams, the project teams I work on have all adopted Microsoft Teams as their hub for teamwork and in doing so have formed a consensus amongst the members of the various teams to hold every project meeting in Microsoft Teams. This poses some challenges as you could imagine, but it also brings many opportunities to make the team operate more efficiently and be higher performing. One interesting dimension of this, is a change in user behavior, and how that impacts/influences the team.

Holding your meetings in Microsoft Teams is a paradigm shift for users as it presents three ways to have a meeting (channel, private, ad-hoc). Understanding when to use which method and how to use it is extremely important to ensuring your meeting attendees have a good experience. In this blog post I am going to discuss how I make the three meeting types work for my teams, and how I enrich my meetings to make them more valuable. I hope by reading this you’ll be inspired, and even get new ideas as to how you can make meetings matter in your organization.

Important: It’s important that before considering enabling and using meetings in Microsoft Teams that your organization’s network is properly engineered to handle real-time traffic. See Prepare your organization’s network for Microsoft Teams for more information.

Meeting Types
As I mentioned above, there are three types of meetings in Microsoft Teams:

  • Channel Meetings (scheduled)
  • Private Meetings (scheduled)
  • Meet Now Meetings (non-scheduled)

Channel Meetings

What is a Channel Meeting?

A Channel Meeting is a meeting that occurs within a channel in a team in Microsoft Teams and is out in the open, visible (and open) for anyone that is a member of the team to join (it’s “public”). For example, this can be a recurring team status meeting. When browsing the channel in my team, I can immediately see a meeting is occurring and can join and leave as I wish. This might also be useful if I want people to have awareness that a meeting is occurring, and based on the agenda they can choose whether or not there is value in them attending (similar to the meeting title and brief description on a monitor outside a physical meeting room). There are two types of channel meetings: scheduled and non-scheduled (meet now).

Below is an example of what a channel meeting looks like if you were to browse the channel and see it. Let’s take a closer look at what is happening here:

  • On the right of the channel name (Go To Market Plan) the icon, indicating there is a meeting currently in-progress.
  • In the conversation feed, I can see the meeting name (Weekly Team Meeting) a button to join, the date/time it is scheduled for, and who the original organizer is.
  • Notice the two photos to the right of the meeting name? That’s indicating there’s two people currently in the meeting and who they are (in this case Alex and Adele).
  • Notice I can also see the chat that is occurring in the meeting, in real time. In this case, Megan has placed today’s agenda in the chat which I can see even though I’m not in the meeting! This helps me decide if I want to join.
  • Lastly, I can see the meeting timer for how long the meeting’s duration is thus far. In this case, the meeting has been going on for 9 minutes.

Important: The coolest feature of this? Once the meeting has ended, this information will be persistent! Talk about going back and reviewing the history of who attended, and the chat history of meetings!


At any time, I can click the button to see the meeting details where a detailed description and additional information.


Scheduling a Channel Meeting:

Let’s briefly talk about how to schedule a channel meeting. Channel meetings are scheduled using the Teams client (desktop or web). Note that at the time of this writing, scheduling channel meetings using the Microsoft Teams add-in for Outlook, is not available. To schedule the meeting, click on the meetings button on the left side of the client. Then at the bottom of your agenda view click the Schedule a Meeting button. Give the meeting a title, a description (agenda), and specify the channel you want to meet in. Do not invite specific individuals. Then click Schedule a Meeting. The meeting will appear in the channel as you saw in the example above. At this point, anyone can join.

But wait, this is a channel meeting, why would I want to invite specific individuals? Inviting attendees to a channel meeting could be an example of a meeting that is intended for a select group of individuals in the team focusing on a specific task – but the meeting is occurring within the context of the channel so anyone can drop in to participate in the meeting (it’s about changing the workstyle of the team from working in silos, to working in the open) I like this ability, because it enables you to work in the open and give the team visibility to your meeting. If you specify attendees here, they will receive an email calendar invitation.


Once scheduled, it will appear in the conversation feed in the channel:


Important! If team members do not turn off email notifications for the underlying Office 365 Group, they will receive a calendar invite. For more details see Why do I receive invites to channel meetings in Microsoft Teams? (mystery solved)

Private Meetings

What is a Private Meeting?

Private meetings are meetings that are closed to only individuals that were invited to the meeting and are not visible to anyone on the team unless they received an email invitation (like traditional meeting requests in Outlook) or they are invited through the Teams client. Private meetings can be scheduled, or they can be within a private group chat. Let’s discuss scheduled first.

Scheduling a Private Meeting

One method of scheduling the private meeting is to use the Microsoft Teams Outlook Add-In as seen below:

Choosing Teams Meeting from New Items in Outlook:


Composing the new Teams Meeting request:


The second method is using the built-in scheduler in the Teams client (web or desktop) like we did in the channel meeting. Personally, I prefer to schedule within the Teams client as it keeps me in one application and I find using the suggested meeting times (see below) better than searching across free/busy of all my attendees. Following the same process as scheduling a channel meeting, instead of selecting a channel to meet in, we will invite the people that need to attend.

Notice, under the names of Alex and Adele it says “Free” indicating their calendars are open and available for this time slot. In addition, under the start date, there is intelligence suggesting available times for everyone who was invited. This makes it easy when trying to schedule a meeting. Of course, you can view free/busy of the attendees if you wish to do so by clicking on Scheduling Assistant.


Scheduling assistant:


A private meeting can also occur within a private group chat. In other words, a private chat conversation taking place between 3 or more individuals. This may not be technically considered a meeting, but I consider this a meeting as you are pulling together individuals to talk using voice or video and sharing your desktop/application – that’s a meeting. Here’s an example, of 4 individuals in a private group chat:


And the private group chat being escalated to a voice meeting by clicking the icon:


Meet Now Meetings:

What is a Meet Now meeting?

A meet now meeting is a meeting that is not scheduled, occurs on-demand at the spur of a moment, and lives in the context of the channel. One example scenario for this (and one that I use frequently) is if there is a lively conversation thread taking place in the channel, sometimes it’s easier to get everyone together on a video conference to continue the discussion and drive home next steps. Let’s walk through that scenario in more detail together:

Here is a lively conversation thread taking place. I’m going to reply and let everyone know I will start a meeting:


After typing my reply, in the reply field of the conversation thread I will click the icon:


From here I can add a subject (useful to the members perusing the channel) and click Meet now to start the meeting.

Note: I can also schedule a meeting from here as well.


In the channel, other team members can see there is a meeting happening and can join if they are interested:


Once in the meeting, notice it will be in the context of the conversation thread:


If replying in the conversation thread doesn’t get everyone’s attention, I can also invite them directly which will ring their Teams client and pull them into the meeting. Notice it will also give me suggestions:


Matt’s tips for making meetings matter:

Here’s some personal best practices I have established that help to make my own meetings be more valuable to my attendees. Of course, this is not exhaustive, otherwise I’ll keep you here all week!

Is a meeting even needed?

There’s only so many hours in the day to get work done, and my co-worker’s time is valuable. If I show that I value their time, it will pay dividends in respect back. When asked what I love most about Microsoft Teams, my immediate answer is that it can actually reduce the number of meetings or eliminate meetings altogether! I’ll save the longer explanation for a future blog post, but essentially Teams is changing the behavior of the team. For example, if I have a weekly status meeting with the team where all we do is go around the table asking who’s working on what and their status, reviewing budget, etc – all of that information can be easily accessible by anyone on the team – including leadership.

Think about it.

  • What if we had a PowerBI dashboard that showed budgetary data and it was pinned as a tab in the channel? At anytime anyone on the team (including leadership) can go in and review the data. If they have a question, they can ask via chat. Anyone on the team who is able to answer the question, can. That might eliminate a meeting.
  • In a status meeting, if we are reviewing status of tasks from each team member, that data is probably already being tracked somewhere else – whether it’s a spreadsheet, or even Planner. Pin it as a tab in the channel, and let the team (including leadership) see it. If there’s questions, ask via chat. A side benefit of this is that if I completed my task early and I see you are running behind, I can reach out and contribute to help you be successful because I had visibility to the task via Planner. Otherwise, I’d still be in a silo with no situational awareness.

Amazing things happen when you work in the open, cultures change, and the downstream impact on the organization can be huge!

Who’s taking notes?

Who’s taking notes? Can you send out the notes after the meeting? I don’t have access! I never got the link! You didn’t include the next steps! Hey, we’ve all been there in the headache of dealing with taking notes in a meeting and ensuring all attendees have a copy. One of my absolute favorite feature of Microsoft Teams is the OneNote integration, and being able to have a notebook that is “out in the open” for anyone to see, use and make changes to, really does help the team to perform better. One way it contributes to this higher performance of the team is by using it as a shared meeting notebook. Create the notebook in Teams, and pin it as a tab to the channel:


If you are taking notes, share out your screen and show that you are taking notes in the notebook in the Teams client – especially if it’s an important conversation. This helps to reinforce the behavior that if an attendee wants to see notes, they can access it in the channel (rather than emailing someone for a link). Also, as attendees see as you are typing, their attention span may be more focused and my enrich the conversation. Example of taking notes in the Teams client:


For extra credit, paste a link to the meeting notes in the channel!

I want you to have a good experience in my meeting

Three things I always do when I start a meeting: 1) I ask everyone if they are using built-in PC mic and speakers to please switch to a headset or USB speakerphone or other device. 2) Please mute yourself if you are not talking, and note that I will be muting you if you don’t 🙂 Having good audio quality is critical to executing an effective meeting. If the attendee has poor audio, then the productivity of the meeting will drop significantly.

The third is that I turn on my video, and I encourage everyone else to turn on theirs. The reason why I do this is simple: if you are going to be in a meeting, I want you to be 100% there. Turning on your video enables you to be there, eliminates multi-tasking, and more importantly it allows the engagement of the conversation to be much richer. You would be surprised at how much more productive meetings are when everyone has video turned on! Plus in Teams the video experience is amazing!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me share my screen

I noticed that once I started sharing out my screen to work on a document together with the group, participation in the meeting can sometimes take a hit. An effective way to ensure everyone can participate and feel valued is rather than sharing out my screen, I’ll ask everyone to open the same document and start reviewing and making edits together. This creates a nice atmosphere and I find it always generates some good conversation and most importantly engages everyone. This way we can get the task done faster, and there’s no need for follow-up or action items. Here’s an example of document co-authoring:


 Conclusion:

There are three meeting types in Microsoft Teams, and it’s up to you and your unique scenario as to how and when you use each one. Just as I have, find your own meeting best practices leveraging the technology to make it work for you so your meetings can be more effective and have more impact. Enjoy!

Why do I receive invites to channel meetings in Microsoft Teams? (mystery solved)

For awhile I have been witnessing what I would call an oddity and something that I felt might be unexpected. As I covered in this post Microsoft Teams: Making your meetings matter Microsoft Teams has three different types of meetings (channel, private and meet now). Whenever someone on my team would schedule a channel meeting, for some odd reason everyone who is a member of the team would receive an email invitation. This is odd, because a channel meeting is a meeting that occurs in the open and lives in the channel of a team. It’s designed for anyone on the team to have permissions to attend the meeting if they choose to. If I wish to join, I can click the meeting in the channel to join. If the meeting doesn’t appear to be interesting, I don’t join – it’s as simple as that. Why would I need an email invitation?

If you have experienced this “issue”, you’ll want to keep reading!

After thinking perhaps this was user error or maybe even a bug, I brushed it off. However, it kept happening with other teams I would join and even hearing stories from other organizations that experience the same behavior – so I had to investigate. Before we go further, let’s first understand what a channel meeting is.

What is a Channel Meeting?

A Channel Meeting is a meeting that occurs within a channel in a team in Microsoft Teams and is out in the open, visible (and open) for anyone that is a member of the team to join (it’s “public”). For example, this can be a recurring team status meeting. When browsing the channel in my team, I can immediately see a meeting is occurring and can join and leave as I wish. This might also be useful if I want people to have awareness that a meeting is occurring, and based on the agenda they can choose whether or not there is value in them attending (similar to the meeting title and brief description on a monitor outside a physical meeting room). There are two types of channel meetings: scheduled and non-scheduled (meet now). For purposes of this blog, I’ll only address scheduled but see this blog here for more information on meet now.

Below is an example of what a channel meeting looks like if you were to browse the channel and see it. Let’s take a closer look at what is happening here:

  • On the right of the channel name (Go To Market Plan) the icon, indicating there is a meeting currently in-progress.
  • In the conversation feed, I can see the meeting name (Weekly Team Meeting) a button to join, the date/time it is scheduled for, and who the original organizer is.
  • Notice the two photos to the right of the meeting name? That’s indicating there’s two people currently in the meeting and who they are (in this case Alex and Adele).
  • Notice I can also see the chat that is occurring in the meeting, in real time. In this case, Megan has placed today’s agenda in the chat which I can see even though I’m not in the meeting! This helps me decide if I want to join.
  • Lastly, I can see the meeting timer for how long the meeting’s duration is thus far. In this case, the meeting has been going on for 9 minutes.

Important: The coolest feature of this? Once the meeting has ended, this information will be persistent! Talk about going back and reviewing the history of who attended, and the chat history of meetings!

At any time, I can click the button to see the meeting details where a detailed description and additional information.

Scheduling a Channel Meeting:

Let’s briefly talk about how to schedule a channel meeting. Channel meetings are scheduled using the Teams client (desktop or web). Note that at the time of this writing, scheduling channel meetings using the Microsoft Teams add-in for Outlook, is not available. To schedule the meeting, click on the meetings button on the left side of the client. Then at the bottom of your agenda view click the Schedule a Meeting button. Give the meeting a title, a description (agenda), and specify the channel you want to meet in. Do not invite specific individuals. Then click Schedule a Meeting. The meeting will appear in the channel as you saw in the example above. At this point, anyone can join.

You’ll now get an email notification… (and here’s why)

Remember, a team in Microsoft Teams has an Office 365 Group associated with it. When you are added to a Team as a member, you are also a member of the associated Office 365 Group. With a group, you have two ways to read messages sent to it, either by subscribing to it or by manually which will result in you receiving an email notification (just like a traditional distribution list) or by browsing out to access the group the group directly. (Note, with Teams messages sent to the team will not appear in the group, with the exception of calendar invites which I’ll touch on in a moment).

Here’s an example of “browsing to the group” using Outlook Web App:

Subscribing to a group

When you are a member of a group, you may automatically be subscribed to email notifications (based on how the admin has configured it). But with Teams, when you belong to the team and the underlying group, you’ll also receive notifications. When a message is sent to the group, and you subscribe to it, you’ll receive an email notification that has this in the footer of the message indicating it’s coming from the group:

How do I manage these notifications? Browse to the group in Outlook Web App, and click the gear icon on the far right side to display options:

Next, click Manage group email. This is where you can specify your preferences for subscribing to email notifications of the group.


Okay, so why am I receiving calendar invites from the channel meeting?

Let’s take a look at the preferences above, but with a lens on what radio button is checked by default. Notice the radio button Receive only replies to you and group events is checked. This means if a calendar event is scheduled in the group’s calendar – since you subscribe you will receive the calendar invite as an email! Changing the radio button to Don’t receive any group messages will allow you to no longer receive any email (including calendar invites) from the group and thus the team in Microsoft Teams.

Important: If you are the organizer of the channel meeting, you will always receive an email invitation because you are an organizer of the meeting.

Conclusion:

As part of your user training and adoption when rolling out Microsoft Teams to your organization, they are educated on this feature and develop an understanding of how meetings in Microsoft Teams work. See my blog post Microsoft Teams: Making your meetings matter for more information. Additionally, a best practice could also be developed to create the group first and using PowerShell administratively configure subscribe settings, then associate the team with it.