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Microsoft Teams Update: Chat with users outside your organization

You can now work and collaborate with people outside your organization/partners within the Microsoft Teams workspace.

Business runs on communications; To be more precise it runs on active communication between colleagues, vendors, follows ups, and customer outreach.

At Ignite fall 2021, Microsoft announced that you can now invite any external Teams user to your chat by their email id/contact number. While giving IT admins and Microsoft personal team account users a wide range of controls/tools to enhance security.

This not only applies to colleagues, but Microsoft Teams also now allows you to chat with Teams users outside your organization. It even allows you to chat with people who have personal Teams accounts. This makes collaboration with external users/clients and SMEs easier.

Although Microsoft has different controls for organizations to monitor outside communication. To make this easier, we have created this article dedicated to this latest Teams update by Microsoft.

How to chat with Teams users outside your organization

There are two ways through with you can chat with someone outside your organization:

  • Send invites to External Teams personal account users.
  • External Teams personal account users invite you to the chat.

Here’s how it works:

Business account users can invite external Teams users to chat by entering their email address/contact number. On the other side, the Team personal account users can enter the exact organization email to start chatting.

If the other person does not have a Teams account, then you can invite them to the Teams application via email/text message. Once the user successfully registers with Teams, then he/she can chat with you.

When the users accept your invitation, then you can start a new one-to-one/group/individual chat with them. Everything would be available on your Team’s business account without switching tenants.

Once you are ready to chat, then you will have access to rich messages, GIFs, and stickers. Also, when you are done with the chat or the communication is done, then you can block yourself/leave the group.

Please note: All Teams member accounts, whether an organization or personal accounts can decline any external invitation. There’s a limit, where one Team user can message an external user up to ten times before they accept the request.

However, if they do not accept, then all messages sent will not be delivered.

Teams Moderation: IT admins manage all external access

Organization IT admins have complete access to Team’s accounts. IT admins have complete access to both inside and outside communication. Here’s a brief bifurcation of the controls:

Outgoing chats: Allow/Disallow all users to start a chat with external Teams accounts.

Incoming chats: Allow/disallow any external users to interact with any Teams account associated with the organization.

Admins can control all internal/external communication using a simple toggle/checkbox to allow/disallow users within the organization to interact with others.

Also, admins can use PowerShell commands to stop individual users from receiving external communication requests.  Click here to learn more.

Please note: To block all external access to your organization, then you must do it manually. By default, external access is on.

Protect users throughout the Organization

Microsoft emphasizes a lot of user security, privacy, and governance. The external chat communication model is developed on the MS 365 hyper-scale [backed by Scale-out technology].

The platform provides advanced security/compliance capabilities to all users. Although the Teams application is open and accessible to all, it still offers a wide range of controls/tools for security needs. The tool alerts the users when they chat with people outside their organization.

The platform allows users to chat with users from other organizations, IT admins can disallow conversation with all Team accounts currently not managed by the organization via the admin console.

This is how Teams allows users to interact with users outside the application. But, still, the admins can disable the chat with team accounts not managed by the organization. Even when external communication is enabled, the team users are still protected.

The Opt-in Pop-up

All users do not receive any message until they approve to preview. Also, Teams reminds the users of the risk associated with external user chat and gives them the option to block/accept the message.

Outside users get the “External” badge

MS Teams shows an external badge to all outside messages in the chats (left most list) and header.

 Complete Spam check:

Before you get the prompt to accept a message, Teams performs a runtime spam check. If there is spam detected, then the message will not be delivered.

 The Message limit:

There is a limit of 10 external messages, and anything additional will not be delivered to the user.

 Admin controls:

Admins have robust control over tenants and every user-level external access.

 User privacy:

To keep user information private, we only display the name/email address. But there are no personal identifiers such as profile picture, status, etc.

All Teams personal account users have the option to manage their discoverability via the settings menu and opt-out from being discoverable to other Teams users.

All end-users will not be able to view any external messages unless they accept. Also, they would be reminded of all the potential risks associated with an external chat.

Looking for an effective Business collaboration Software? – Chat with Teams Users outside your Organization

Chat applications are the best way to collaborate and engage with colleagues, partners, SMEs, and whatnot.

Teams is one such application that gets the job done perfectly. The application bridges the communication gap while keeping the user’s privacy intact.

Why wait, enroll with MS Teams today!

For all updates on Microsoft, cybersecurity, and other business technology, be sure to check out our weekly blogs!

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