NEW: Microsoft Teams Essentials is Made for Small Businesses

a group of people that are on a computer screen

Ever since the pandemic hit, business owners have consistently faced challenges. Even the big organizations have struggled with running operations during this period, but the most extensive damage was done to small businesses. Small business owners had to improvise and adapt to operate & work with customers amidst the pandemic. One significant challenge here is that the majority of the small businesses do not have access to critical tools & technologies like the big organizations.

However, Covid-19 has changed everything drastically, and things will not be the same. The old way of conducting business has become obsolete; These days, small business owners need to have the solutions built to help them in the new normal.

The following blog is dedicated to one such tool, i.e., Microsoft Teams Essentials. It is a software solution from Microsoft that is specifically designed to cater to the needs of small businesses.

The software is a complete package offering unlimited group video calls for up to 30 hours, file sharing, calendar scheduling, file sharing, and group chats. Now, this might sound like the software would cost hundreds of dollars, but the price starts at $4 only; Such aggressive pricing makes it the most affordable solution for small businesses.

Teams Essentials is built for small businesses

Microsoft Team Essentials is an all-in-one software targeted to small businesses to meet, collaborate, communicate, and engage with their customers. A lot of small business owners adopt the software.

One successful case study here is of King Kong Media Productions, a Singapore-based media production & entertainment company that has integrated the Teams to make their business operations go smoothly!

As per Tang Wing Fai, The executive director of King Kong media:

Our team uses Microsoft Teams to conduct and manage virtual meetings with their clients; it saves their team without impacting the quality of their meetings. “Employees were more productive during remote work,” said Tang. Microsoft Teams ensures that all team members can interact with team members and collaborate on projects,

Also, their requirement for affordable communications tools is not limited to profit-making businesses; Today, many non-profit organizations such as community groups, religious groups, and schools have struggled for interactions during this whole phase.

The need for affordable communications tools isn’t limited to traditional for-profit small businesses. Non-profits, religious organizations, schools, and community groups also struggle to connect and collaborate effectively. All such organizations needed communications solutions & Microsoft Teams provided an effective solution. Microsoft Teams essentials allow all these small businesses to participate effectively.

Still the accessible version of the Microsoft Team. But Microsoft Team Essentials extends the limits of the free performance, where you get additional storage and longer meetings.


Meeting up to 300 participants on a group call
Photo credit: Microsoft
Shared default Google calendar integration.
Photo credit: Microsoft

To make this simple let’s look at some of the features that come with the Microsoft Team Essentials.

  • Extended Meeting times: With Microsoft Teams essentials, you can schedule meetings that can last up to 30 hours.
  • Large Meeting capacity: With Microsoft Teams essentials, you can host meetings with up to 300 people at a time. The limit is sufficient for small businesses to bring everyone together in a single virtual room.
  • Integrate Calendars: Microsoft Teams Essentials allows you to integrate Outlook calendar and Google Calendar. These two are major calendar apps used worldwide! Therefore, you can use your existing calendar software to manage your schedule and meetings.
  • Easy invites: Inviting people to meetings was never this easy! All you have to do is send the Teams meeting invitation via their email address. Then, they will receive a meeting invitation link to join. Also, if the recipient does not have a Teams account, then the meeting opens on their browsers. There is no installation or signup required!
  • Interactive Meetings: Microsoft Teams Essentials allows you to create a meeting lobby, virtual backgrounds, together mode, live reactions to keep all participants engaged in the meetings.
Easily share files on any Teams chat
Photo credit: Microsoft
Photo credit: Microsoft

Team essentials allow participants to engage and store content in one place, making it easier to stay organized. The software features allow participants to save time and keep meetings/conversations context. There are tools such as office web apps, groups, task managers & much more. Here’s a quick overview of what Teams offer:

  • Extra storage: Microsoft team essentials come with extra cloud storage; so that you do not have to worry about running out of storage to share files & documents. Participants can co-author, view, edit, and store Office 365 files. The Teams Essentials provides 10 Gb of storage, and it is twice the limit of the accessible version of Teams.
  • Ongoing Chat: All conversations keep on running until the meeting ends. It helps to keep the conversation going and the context relevant.
  • Small business group chats template: You can start a group project and host meetings with anyone. You can assign tasks to your subordinates and collect live feedback that helps to boost productivity and track progress.
  • Chat, meet and collaborate with anyone: You can collaborate with anyone, even if someone is outside of your organization; you can do it; Use the Teams app to dial in and keep all your chats in one place. You do not need to switch to any other app to handle your clients or chat with anyone outside your organization.
  • Mobile chats: You can click on the dashboard to view all your one-to-one or group chats; Share, manage and organize content in different categories such as events, tasks, photos, files, etc.

Providing the best value to small businesses

Cost is something that matters to every small business. Teams Essentials provides the best value for its price. It has a simple interface that is easy to learn and straightforward.

Along with the best communication features, Microsoft Teams maintain the lowest cost in the market, which is $4/user per month. It delivers outstanding value to all small business owners.

Microsoft Teams essentials come with extended support from Microsoft running in the Azure cloud. It ensures the security, reliability, performance, and support for all problems that a small business owner might encounter! It has all the technology you need within the budget!

How to buy Teams Essentials

Converting your business’s communications to Microsoft Teams is a process that is easy enough for tech-savvy people to figure out. Nevertheless, to optimize your experience and get the most out of the platform, it is better to bring in award-winning professionals intimately familiar with all of Microsoft’s offerings, apps, and cloud services.

Talk to specialists at WheelHouse IT, a Microsoft Gold-Certified partner, to learn how they can seamlessly upgrade your systems and put you on the path to more effective collaboration.

Microsoft Teams Update: Chat with users outside your organization

a cell phone with the microsoft logo on it

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!

When is it Time to Upgrade Your Technology?

a person touching the word upgrade on a touch screen

It can be difficult to know when to upgrade your technology in today’s ever-changing business technology landscape, especially when there are so many options available. How do you avoid getting caught up in the excitement of every new thing? It starts with knowing where your organization is and whether you need to change.

Where Are You Right Now?

Let’s say you want to upgrade your workstation to a newer model with more powerful components. Consider what this might entail and whether the upgrade will make an impact on your day-to-day tasks. Perhaps upgrading your graphics card will help you be a more effective graphic designer, or more RAM might mean you can multitask more often. These are great, but in specific contexts, your average sales representative, for example, doesn’t need a video editing rig.

Your Operations Are Suffering

The major telltale sign that your organization should upgrade its technology is that operations are suffering in a significant way. Let’s say that you have your entire staff accessing the same network infrastructure from an antiquated server unit. The workstations themselves are working quite well, but the server unit is outdated and runs at a sluggish pace. This impacts not just one or two employees but your entire workforce. In situations like this, you absolutely do want to upgrade when possible.

Your Operations Will Suffer in the Near Future

The other situation when you might consider upgrading your technology is if your operations will be impacted sooner rather than later. A perfect example of this is when your operating system is about to reach its end of life and will no longer be supported by patches and security updates. You want to take care of this before you experience issues related to this lack of updates rather than after the fact.

In other words, it’s all about being proactive with your upgrades but not being impulsive with them. If you have trouble with this concept, don’t worry—we’ve got your back!

If you need help when it comes time to upgrade your technology, WheelHouse IT can help. To learn more, reach out to us at (877) 771-2384.