Microsoft has announced new capabilities for Microsoft Teams, Defender for Office 365 and other applications within its Microsoft 365 suite.
The tech giant’s channel partners have seen major business opportunities from the Teams collaboration tool in particular.
Here’s what you need to know about the latest Microsoft 365 updates.
Microsoft Teams updates presentations
Microsoft’s newest features for Teams this month includes general availability of Together mode, which puts all Teams video call participants in one screen with a shared background. Up to 300 participants can join the video call from a PC, Mac, iOS device, Android device or web browser, even if they don’t use Teams. And in light of COVID-19, Microsoft has temporarily waived limits to allow 24-hour calls with up to 300 participants for free.
Webinars and PowerPoint Live have started rolling out in Teams. The application supports meetings and webinars for up to 1,000 attendees and 10,000 people in a view-only broadcast. Teams will support 20,000-people broadcasts through the end of the year due to COVID-19, according to the company.
Presenter mode, also rolling out this month, allows users leading a presentation to see slides, notes, meeting chats and the audience in a single view. Attendees can privately navigate content or change the contrast on their screen. In the future, attendees can translate slides into another language.
Presenter mode has three visual options. Standout mode will roll out this month and show the speaker in silhouette with shared content. The other two modes, which will roll out later, are reporter mode -- which shows content above the speaker’s shoulder like a news broadcast -- and side-by-side mode. Side-by side mode shows the presenter’s video feed next to the presentation content.
For 2021, Teams users can try these new features with their existing subscriptions, according to Microsoft.
Other Teams software updates to know include a polling feature set to roll out to Teams group chats sometime in the future and a new integration to allow Dynamics 365 Marketing customers to export attendee data from Teams to create campaigns and automate customer interactions.
On the hardware side, Microsoft has rolled out new Teams-certified accessories, including Surface Headphones 2+ with 13 levels of active noise cancellation and an eight-microphone system for voice clarity.
Modern USB and Wireless Headsets for Surface or Windows 10 PCs, which come with noise-reducing microphones and call and mute buttons, will ship in select markets in June. And the Microsoft Modern Webcam, which also has expected availability in June, has 1080p video with HDR, auto white balance and facial retouch, plus a privacy shutter that slides open or closed.
Defender for Office 365 receives enhancements
This month, Microsoft rolled out some key features for Microsoft Defender for Office 365. To simplify quarantining, Microsoft has moved new and existing quarantine parameters into a standalone quarantine policy. Microsoft has also made Safe Links available to protect users from malicious links sent through Microsoft Teams.
Security administrators received enhancements to Defender’s spoof intelligence feature. They can set up spoof configurations, manage spoof allow and block lists for tenants, review insights provided by spoof intelligence and view or export detailed spoof detections reports. The goal is to simplify how administrators spoof domains or users for external and internal email messages, according to Microsoft.
In June, Microsoft will release new capabilities for all users of Microsoft Defender on Office 365 including a new way to triage quarantined phish messages. End users will gain read-only access to the quarantine to view quarantined messages and request that an admin release messages to the inbox as a way to better manage false positives. Microsoft will also release a portal for administrators to explicitly allow or block files, URLs and other elements in Exchange Online Protection (EOP) for Office 365 tenants.
The tech giant will release an alert feature to notify customers of possible security threats from countries and regions with political, social or economic goals. Nation-state threats are considered among the most advanced and persistent security threats that Microsoft tracks, according to the company.
Microsoft will add more data within email detection details to improve investigations. The new details will include authentication information, override details and phish confidence level.
Also next month, Defender users are expected to receive a new ability to configure advanced message delivery for special scenarios, including third-party phishing simulation campaigns and SecOps mailboxes. This “advanced delivery” feature will send unfiltered messages in these cases and clearly mark messages as part of each scenario across all admin surfaces.
Administrators gain new controls
The Microsoft 365 admin center received some key updates this month. Features that entered general availability include the informed network routing feature, which integrates various Microsoft 365 applications with third party software defined networking in a wide area (SD-WAN) solutions. The goal is to optimize and improve network connectivity to Microsoft service endpoints, according to the company.
Capabilities now in preview include a new “network connectivity” category in admin center for users to see network assessments evaluating the impact of network design on M365 user experience. The evaluations are on a 0 to 100 scale calculated based on network attributed proven through support cases to affect user experience. Microsoft recommends the tool be used at specific office locations, but users can assess an entire organization. The tool also provides suggestions on how to improve network design to align with the published network connectivity principles and improve network performance.
Select users also received a preview this month of a Groups ownership governance option in M365 admin center. This option is meant to cut down on the number of ownerless M365 groups with a view showing how many owners a group has, plus an ability to assign group owners and email group members to request an owner.
Administrators received a new feedback viewer under the admin center’s “health” node to view feedback sent to Microsoft by organizational users about their experiences with M365 applications.
The service health dashboard received updates to speed up and simplify active services issues. The dashboard’s landing page now shows incidents and advisories. For high-impact incidents, Microsoft will provide smaller and more frequent updates along with the regular updates. The service health dashboard page also received a new translator toggle to change incident and advisory content to a new language.
A newly released guide comes with configuration automation scripts for Enterprise Site Discovery, which detects which frequently visited sites by users need Internet Explorer mode in Microsoft Edge. Administrators can create an Enterprise Mode Site List to deploy to users.
Admins receive a new report on how the organization uses teams in the Microsoft Teams collaboration tool. The reports are also available at the tenant level and by team.
New previews for Office 365
Microsoft unveiled some changes to 365 this month outside of Teams. All Office.com users received a new pane to catch up on activity related to content they shared or shared with them, including comments and mentions.
The tech giant also launched a preview for select Office 365 users to search for people across multiple tenants. And users that have elected into the “current” update channel for Office 365 have received improvements to the user interface and control settings of the Dictation tool for Outlook for Mac. The updates simplify voice commands for edits and formatting dictated text and come with a profanity filter and automatic punctuation.
This month, Microsoft released a preview of Office Apps Device Inventory, a place for detailed information on the devices in an organization using Office apps.
The tech giant also launched a preview of a new security compliance report for the state of Office devices in the enterprise in relation to the uptake of the most recent security patches.
In June, Microsoft will release a new feature to allow IT administrators to configure a tenantwide session timeout value based on which users are automatically signed out after a period of inactivity on M365 web apps. The feature will replace current idle timeout settings in Outlook Web App (OWA) and SharePoint Online (SPO).
Office App for Windows users will receive updated performance, reliability and an ability to open multiple instances of the app starting next month. The app header will allow more than one app window at a time and the app is expected to load faster, according to Microsoft.
IT administrators on the “current” update channel will see changes next month to how they can use Automatic Deployment Rules (ADR) in Configuration Manager. Administrators can now use Title property within the search criteria of an ADR definition to find an update and not continually update the search criteria with each release.