Friday, March 29, 2019

Expiration Policy for Office 365 Groups and Teams


In Microsoft Teams we create several teams, managing teams and channels is also very important so that you can work in a compliant way. When you create a team a SharePoint site and an Office 365 Group is also created.  With the increased use of O365 Groups, admins and users must have some way to clean up unwanted or unused groups. Here comes the need of setting up Team or Group Expiration Policy from Azure Active Directory and as you know Teams is based on Office 365 Groups, it is influenced by Group Expiration Policy

In this article, we will see how we can effectively manage teams with the help of Group Expiration Policy.

Let's get started:
  1. Go to Microsoft 365 Admin Center > Azure Active Directory.

  2. In Active AD, go to Groups > Expiration Policy.

  3. You can then set an expiration policy for a group by providing Group Lifetime.
  4. You can set a default group expiration as 180 or 365 days else you also select custom and enter the number of days as per your requirements, but it should be more than 30 days.

  5. When the expiration policy is in place, once a group ages to 30 days before their lifecycle period lapses, group owners receive notifications for renewal. If it is renewed the lifecycle extends for a defined period and if not renewed O365 soft-deletes the group when it expires.

    If there are no owners of that group, you can provide an email Id of someone who will be receiving the notifications.

    Note – Owners can recover the soft-deleted groups during the next 30 days.

  6. Select the groups and save the policy by hitting the Save button.

Is Group Expiration Policy available with a free or basic subscription of Azure AD?
Answer – Group Expiration Policy is a premium feature and is only available with Azure AD Premium subscriptions.
What happens if a Team or Group owner fails to check the expiry notifications?
Answer – Teams also shows the expiry information on Teams settings. Open the team for which you are the owner and select manage team and then go to settings. At the bottom, you can see Team Expiry option.
In addition,  If O365 soft-deletes the team or group, owners have 30 days to recover the group and when a team is expiring, a warning triangle is displayed alongside the team name which is only visible to team owners.


In this way, you can effectively manage your team or groups. The policy helps to remove inactive groups from the system and make things cleaner.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Comparing Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Teams Free


Since the release of Microsoft Teams on March 2017 which was designed for business for all sizes, it is now being used by almost 500,000 organizations worldwide. MS Teams is a big hit in the messaging app market after having such huge competitors like Slack, Facebook, Google, etc.

Microsoft released its free version in July 2018 which is designed for small businesses or groups of people within a company who doesn’t have commercial Office 365 subscriptions or a couple of people working together.

In this article, we are going to discuss the feature comparison between MS Teams with commercial O365 subscription and MS Teams Free version. I have written several articles on Microsoft Teams which comes with Office 365 subscriptions, and I was asked by many users to provide some info on Microsoft Teams free.

1.       Sign Up for MS Teams – Any person with corporate or consumer email address can sign up for Teams. People who have commercial O365 subscription will already have access to MS Teams and those who don’t have the commercial subscription can sign up for the Microsoft Teams Freemium from this link -

2.       Maximum no. of users – Free Teams brings up the features for up to 300 people. This number is similar for the commercial subscription as well, excluding Enterprise plans for which the max no. if users are unlimited.

3.       Online Apps in MS Teams – Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote are available online with the free version of Teams. With Office 365 commercial subscriptions the desktop versions of apps are available for Office 365 Business Premium and Enterprise plans (excluding E1). Like the premium MS Teams, the free version of Teams can also be integrated with more than 140 different apps.
Note – Office 365 services like SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and other Office 365 services will not be available with free MS Teams as it doesn’t have Office 365 subscription.

4.       Guest Access – This is a very awesome feature introduced by Microsoft in Teams with the help of which you can collaborate with external contacts, clients or with partners. Guest access is available with MS Teams free version as well. We can invite users with corporate or consumer email address and the users with commercial Office 365 subscriptions using Teams as well.

5.       Audio & Video calls, Screen sharing and chat – Audio, video calling, screen sharing, and one to one chat are some of the key features any communication and collaboration platform. So, of course, these features are available with Microsoft Teams free version as well otherwise what would be the use of the free version.

6.       Scheduling meeting and Audio conferencing – Feature of Scheduling meetings, Audio conferencing and then depending upon your SKU, things link phone number calling and dial-in conferencing is not available in Microsoft Teams free version which we get with the paid version of MS Teams.

7.       Security and Compliance – Paid version gives you a full set of powerful IT capabilities, compliance and security controls and developer options to manage and scale Teams all as part of Office 365. Plus, you also get support and guaranteed uptime which you don’t get in free MS Teams version. Of course, security features such as Data Encryption and region-based data residency is available with free Teams, but we don’t have features like MFA, Auditing, reporting, etc which are there with a paid subscription.

8.       Custom status message – Presence status we can set in free MS Teams version which is awesome, but we don’t have an option to set custom status message compare to that we have in paid Teams.

In this article, we are going to discuss the feature comparison between MS Teams with commercial O365 subscription and MS Teams Free version. I have written several articles on Microsoft Teams which comes with Office 365 subscriptions, and I was asked by many users to provide some info on Microsoft Teams free.


Microsoft Teams Freemium is an awesome way for the people to start using Teams whether they are a couple of co-workers, small business or a group of people working together. It is easy to use and has all the major functionalities a messaging and collaboration app should have but if you want all the features with discussed above you can of course upgrade to the paid version and have a commercial Office 365 subscription.

Hope this article helps you to understand the differences between Microsoft Teams ‘Premium’ and ‘Freemium’.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Secure your SharePoint Online documents with the security features in Office 365 & SharePoint Online

Security nowadays is always a concern because of the cloud service and that too keeping your business documents on cloud raises many concerns about security. In this article, I am highlighting some of the key features available within SharePoint Online and Office 365 Security & Compliance by means of which you can secure your documents.

If you know, you can also integrate Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement entity records with SharePoint Online for managing D365 documents Integrating Dynamics 365 and SharePoint Online.
These documents also need to be secure.
Let us see how we can secure these documents with below features: -

o   Using Permission Level: - Microsoft already provides a set of default permission levels which is very useful, but you can also create new permission levels in SharePoint Online. You can then create Groups for that Site Collection for e.g. (root site), associated with the permission level. For e.g., you can create a permission level called Contribute (Not delete) which means the users associated with this permission level will not be able to delete anything.
Note – Never modify or delete a default permission level.

o Retention policy from Office 365 Security & Compliance center: - Create a Retention Policy for all or chosen SharePoint Online sites, so that if accidentally or by purpose if the documents are deleted from SharePoint Online it can be recovered.

o   Restricting access for certain records: - You might not want that all the users should have access to all D365 for Customer Engagement records. You can basically customize permission for that SharePoint Document library to achieve the same. By default, all sites, list, libraries within a site collection inherit permissions from the parent site break the inheritance from library settings and then add only those users whom you want to provide access.

o  Alerts: - Alerts can be set in two ways for SharePoint Online.

a.       a.   Setting up alerts from SharePoint Online – You can set alerts for a specific document library within SharePoint Online, so if there is any modification or deletion you can get email or SMS alert.

    b.  Alerts from the Security & Compliance center in Office 365: – Here we can set alerts whenever there is any activity in SharePoint Online defined by you. We can only get Email notifications in this case and not an SMS, unlike SharePoint Alerts.

o Audit in Office 365 Security & Compliance center: - With the help of Audit you can search for Users and Admin activities. Before you can start searching for the audit logs it needs to be turned ON. To turn it ON, just click Start recording user and admin activity on the Audit log search page in the Security & Compliance center.

Here, we can get the audit logs for the activities defined by you.

  • o    Access Control in SharePoint Online admin center: - With the help of access control, you can restrict or allow all the users to access SharePoint Online contents on basis of network location, which can do in just a few clicks.
    This helps to prevent access from untrusted locations.


       o    Conditional Access using Azure Active Directory: - You can either restrict access or enforce Multi-Factor Authentication for specific users or group of users whenever SharePoint Online is accessed from an untrusted location.
Note: - This method requires Azure AD Premium license for users.
 If you want to simply restrict all the users from accessing SharePoint Online on the basis on a network location, you can simply use Access Control in SharePoint Online Admin Center.

  • o   Manage Sharing from SharePoint Online admin center: - External sharing is one of the key features to collaborate. However, this increases the possibility of data loss. According to the organization requirements, you can select from the given options for e.g. you may choose that only authenticated users who can sign in to Office 365 can access the content which is shared with them. There is a lot of other option available to narrow down the sharing restrictions for external users, which helps you to secure your environment.


While I have explained this in a detailed manner, there are lots of other ways where SharePoint and Dynamics 365 compliment each other. Security is just one aspect. I shall be listing other such features ahead in my blogs.
Hope the above information helps!

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