New updates are coming to Microsoft Teams that will enable companies to collaborate and share information with organizations outside of their own.
The new features, coming later in the year and in 2022, will allow teams to share channels and work across Microsoft's apps, as well as chat directly with people outside of the company.
With the introduction of easier collaboration across organizations, it's also worth being mindful of best practice to avoid any potential security issues.
What Do Latest Microsoft Teams Updates Mean?
As much as some companies rely on Microsoft Teams, it somewhat loses its appeal when a third party is brought onboard, as it can render a lot of the Teams tools useless, thanks to a lack of cross collaboration.
Not only does this make the work process more convoluted and harder, it also makes it hard to trace and keep track of progress. One of the joys of Teams is its digital paper trail – there's a permanent record of what happened, and when. When other apps and platforms have to be introduced, it's a lot hard to keep sight of a project.
Clearly, Microsoft realizes this, hence the introduction of more cross-channel tools coming to Teams.
For Microsoft Teams Connect users, it means the ability to share a channel with individuals and teams across organizations, as well as set up meetings, and collaborate in real-time on compatible apps.
For those with a personal Teams account, permissions will be granted to allow users to chat with members outside of the organization.
Microsoft will also be adding new webinars and broadcasting features that will allow users to reach out to both internal and external audiences, with a ‘virtual green room' where they will be able to monitor chat, oversee Q&As, manage attendance and share content before the presentation starts.
When Will These Updates be Added to Microsoft Teams?
As exciting as these new features are, we'd recommend that you try and contain your glee a little longer. Microsoft hasn't given us any solid dates yet on when these updates will be rolled out, but we do have a loose timeframe.
For users with a personal Teams account, the ability to chat with members outside of your organization will be added ‘by the end of 2021', according to Microsoft.
For those on Microsoft Teams Connect, it's a little more vague, with the public preview of the feature being available in the first quarter of 2022, and the actual live rollout not yet dated.
Collaborating Effectively and Safely
There's no doubt that the features coming soon to Teams will be a watershed moment for many companies who need to work closely with external organizations, but have been struggling to deal with the digital walled garden of Teams.
However, while anything that makes cross-organization collaboration easier is to be welcomed, it's also important to be mindful of the dangers that communicating so effortlessly can bring.
It's important to check permissions, and ensure that only the people that you want to see the channel or associated documents, have access to them. Going outside of the organization means that sensitive company information may be at risk, so you need to ensure that everything is locked down tight.
There's also the question of conduct. Conversation in a messaging service like Microsoft Connect or Slack is usually a lot more casual than it would be in a business meeting, for example, so it can be wise to give staff a reminder that anything said in the channel is not only ‘on the record', but also visible to those outside the organization.
Microsoft Teams has gone from strength to strength during the pandemic, but it isn't the only option. Check out our recommendations below for the full picture:
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