Integration of Teams with other cloud services?

When you follow Microsoft and their ecosystem, you’ll have noticed there is a lot of buzz around Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is the latest service within the Office 365 suite to collaborate with the different teams in your company. Like with any new, shiny service within Office 365, you must ask yourself if this is something you need as an organization, and why it is so different from what you have today.

Why Teams? Most everyone can agree that collaboration is the key to success within any organization. Sharing knowledge, working together, putting the right resources together increases the chances for the desired outcome on whatever the project may be. So why is Microsoft Teams so different than any other collaboration system? Well, actually, it isn’t. To explain that statement a bit better, let us take a closer look at what the approach is for Microsoft Teams to collaboration and more important what is under the hood of this new service.

Chat for today’s teams, Microsoft Teams allows you to spin up threaded and persistent group chats. This is functionality Microsoft tried already with Yammer and was proven to customers and their end-users. However, instead of relying on Yammer, Microsoft decided to go with one of their most successful core services, Exchange Online, to store personal and group conversations. Additionally, Microsoft decided to bring a modern approach to conversations. Microsoft Teams allows you to add another level of communication to your collaboration by adding memes, stickers and emoji’s. This persistent threading functionality is a huge benefit for teams because it allows new members to come in and read up on existing threads, catch up on conversations and discussions that happened in that past. This is a huge improvement on the traditional use of distribution lists.

Working together on the right information, fast and easy. For a long time, documents and document management systems have been considered to be the beating heart of collaboration. Microsoft has invested lots of time and energy to bring the SharePoint platform to a level where everyone can agree it is pretty amazing when you look at its capabilities. However, during the process, SharePoint became a system that caused mixed emotions with its users; both loved and hated at the same time. People love it for the robustness, capabilities around record and document management, the ability to share documents and coauthor documents on the fly. However, end-users didn’t like the result. People weren’t able to find information on the platform, or weren’t using it because it wasn’t set up intuitively. You had to be an expert to use to the system, hence the popularity of SharePoint conferences and SharePoint community events. Microsoft tried to make it easier by introducing Delve, an intelligent service that should be able to provide you with all the information you needed based on meetings, connections with coworkers, etc. Ultimately, I think Microsoft may have finally realized that SharePoint was not the tool for collaboration, however, SharePoint was the perfect platform to enable collaboration as long as the application on top is easy and intuitive to use. That is exactly what Microsoft Teams brings to the table.

Built-in voice and video. The world has become a smaller place thanks to cloud services focusing on voice and video. You need to set up a meeting with somebody from Johannesburg, Atlanta, Melbourne, and Paris? No worries, with Skype for Business, we already have a cloud service able to connect all these people in a heartbeat. Well, Teams takes that same service to the next level. Do you want to keep a recording in your team files? You want to people to discuss later the meeting content through a group chat? You want in your team a meeting calendar with direct connections to the Skype Bridge? Done, done and done. Microsoft is so convinced of the added value of the Teams functionality that they announced the deprecation of Skype For Business Online in favor of Microsoft Teams.

Collaboration Hub. Microsoft wants Teams to be the application where all collaboration starts. Within a specific team, you can add different applications in tabular view. Is your team using Salesforce, Kanban, an online time management service, etc? Teams can visually integrate all these applications. Teams can be used as your collaboration and application hub allowing you a centralized location where everyone in your team exactly knows how to get to all their line of business applications.

Enjoy the security of Office 365. As you can see, Microsoft Teams is built on top of Microsoft’s most established cloud services like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Skype for Business. Besides the stability and value, they also guarantee that your data is safe and secure. Finally, Microsoft Teams provides the advanced security and compliance capabilities that Office 365 customers expect. Data is encrypted in transit and at rest. Like the other services in Office 365, Microsoft has a transparent operational model with no standing access to customer data. Microsoft Teams supports key compliance standards including EU Model Clauses, ISO 27001, SOC 2, HIPAA and more. And, as customers would expect, Microsoft Teams is served out of our hyper-scale global network of data centers, automatically provisioned within Office 365 and managed centrally, just as any other Office 365 service.

Integration with other cloud services. As most of you know, there are other cloud services used in the workforce that people like to use for multiple reasons. To name just a few of them, Box, Dropbox, Egnyte, etc. are familiar and well-liked names in the industry. Is there a way to make Teams play nicely with those services or not? Microsoft Teams supports multiple cloud services as their storage. OneDrive, Box, Dropbox, ShareFile and Google Drive are the ones Microsoft support natively in the application. How does it work? Just go into the files section of Microsoft Teams, click on add cloud storage and select the cloud storage service you want to use. The application will redirect you to a login screen, you provide a username and password. Additionally, you can add a directory to a specific Team or a Channel in a Team. This cloud service storage will be represented as a virtual folder in your files section.

Where is my latest document? The integration is a perfect way to combine the core functionality of Microsoft Teams with different cloud services. Seems too good to be true? Probably — you might want to look at the problems this integration brings to the table. Confusion caused by two storage systems is by far the main one. Let’s illustrate this with a few examples. When you create a Team, the systems responsible to store the conversation and files are still there. When you add a Box account to a Team or Channel you will still be able to upload documents in Microsoft OneDrive attached to the Team. If you want to upload files in your Box account through collaboration within Microsoft Teams, you need to make sure you are in the virtual folder otherwise it will be uploaded to the OneDrive attached to the Team. Imagine the fallback when people realize that their new and updated data is not on their Box account but rather on OneDrive, a service that might be completely new to them. Additionally, one of the strengths of Microsoft Teams is the ability to have conversations around specific documents. When you, however, accidentally upload the document instead of using a link to a document from Box, again that document will be on OneDrive and all the changes made to that document will not be reflected to the Box account. Lastly, you can only attach one account of each cloud service to a Team or Channel. It is the owner of that Team or Channel that will decide what account is attached to it. If you have documents over multiple accounts that you want to use in a Team or Channel, this will require a consolidation of data into one account. That might not be necessarily the route you want to take.

But I really love the functionality of Teams! When you are really set on using Microsoft Teams combined with other cloud services, you will have to check out tools that support a bidirectional synchronization. SkySync can help you overcome the problems the native integration brings to your organization. With their Enterprise Content Integration tool, you can use Microsoft Teams and enjoy its full feature set. Behind the scenes, your data will be kept up-to-date with the master storage, whatever service or services that may be. When your data changes on the master storage, an update will be triggered to update your data in Microsoft Teams, making sure your data is also up-to-date in whatever service or application you might access it.

Check out the website on to learn more about the solutions they offer.

Google Suite resources conversion to Office 365 resources

The world of cloud services has never been so competitive as it is today. Office 365 clearly is the big driver nowadays in cloud adoption, but that has not always been the case. Google Apps, now called Google Suite was way earlier on the market with a viable cloud service than Microsoft. You still going to see a lot of large enterprises who have their first cloud footprint on Google. The adoption of Google Apps/Suite was very similar to the adoption of Office 365. Mailboxes were a no-brainer, later Google Drive followed, Google Hangouts, etc.

So one of the features Google Suite offers you, like in Office 365 is resources. However that is where all comparison stops. In Office 365 all the resources get an email address within the vanity domain you chose to use. E.g. or .. All nice and clean. However when we look into the Google Suite side of things, that is a whole different thing. For some inexplicable reason Google creates an entity within its own domain, and not in your own vanity domain. When we look at the structure you can extrapolate that all resources will look like this:

<vanity domain>_<hash/unique identifier>

which results in:

When you use the Google Calendar and setup a meeting, you won’t even see that smtp address. You get the user friendly name in the rooms list. So why do we care? Well, one thing that cloud services have done to the industry is turning it into a competitive market. Mailboxes size increases, price drops, new features, etc are some of the incentives that all cloud service providers offer to their customers. Currently Office 365 is clearly leading but even so, when companies decide to move from Google Suite to Office 365, they are not doing a ‘start blank’ scenario. They want their new setup as best as possible to match their current setup. So in case of resources, new resources are created on Office 365 and data has to be migrated.

And here is where the issues start. Lets assume that we just migrate all the date from the resource within Google to Office 365. Calendar items within the resource would have in their invite list, same goes for people using the resource in their calendar items. So when a calendar item is updated, the updated version will not go the new Office 365 resource but will be redirected to the Google Resource domain. This means that updates are not going through in the resource mailbox. Big deal? Well if your resources are used frequently and you cherish the correctness of their availability, I would say so.

So what is the solution? We know that coming from Google the Microsoft migration tools are not that great. Even Fast Track, the migration service of Microsoft does not cover resources for this specific reason. So, when you have a customer or you are the customer who is thinking about doing Google Suite to Office 365 mailboxes, make sure you ask about resources. If they are a part of the scope know that you will need a migration tool that is capable of doing recipient mapping, this means that the tool will take e.g. and translate it into . This is the only way to cover for this.

I am not going to tell you which tool to use but bases on my experience, I go MigrationWiz every single time.

Office 365, know your secure score

Office 365, cloud services in general and security, lengthy debates have been conducted. Cloud services have proven their reliability in security and the safety of our data. Many security papers and thesis’s have been written about the topic, all saying the same thing, your data is safe when using the established cloud services like Office 365, GSuite, Dropbox, etc.

But how about the administrator side of the story, how are we doing in securing our data on Office 365? Do we put in the same amount of effort as Microsoft and other providers or are we, the Office 365 administrators the weakest link in the security chain? Well, with Secure Score ( you can verify how well protected your Office 365 tenant is. The only thing you need to do is login to your tenant with a global administrator and let the Secure Score report be generated.

Immediately you will receive a score that represents how well your Office 365 tenant is configured when it comes to security. The dashboard will show your score and also the necessary actions you can take to increase that score.

It will also show your targeted score when your perform all the suggested actions. In my test case, performing the 24 actions would allow me to increase my score from 72 to 333. Some actions are some basic actions that everyone should be using, like MFA for global administrators, audit logging, etc. but some suggestions also include more in depth and business driven actions like Data Loss Prevention, reviews of Exchange security reports, etc.

On the Score Analyzer, you will notice a nice graph that shows how your Secure Score has improved (or not) over time when you start applying the different rules suggested in the Secure Score Dashboard. Additionally you get a detailed overview of the actions you have implemented and how they are calculated in your Secure Score. In the tab ‘Incomplete Actions’ you get a full overview again -as on the Dashboard- of the actions you should complete to maximize your Security Score. What is really neat is the learn more button.

It shows you what you are about to change, which users to change it on and what the effect will be for the users.

So even if security is not your main driver in your Office 365 setup, these free security assessment is definitely worth your time and trouble to check it out.


Mailboxes after life, what to do with mailboxes after the employee leaves.

When an user wants to use a service in Office 365, no matter what services is, a license needs to be assigned. When a license is used, a license cost needs to be paid. This whole concept, which is called pay what you use, makes totally sense for active data. But what about mailboxes of users who are not active anymore. Of course you can chose to keep these mailboxes active, but that will result in license costs. Microsoft released a concept of inactive users very early in the Office 365 roadmap to deal with deleted mailboxes.

How does it work?

To make a mailbox inactive, it must be assigned an Exchange Online (Plan 2) license so that a Litigation Hold or an In-Place Hold can be placed on the mailbox before it’s deleted. Exchange Online (Plan 2) licenses are part of an Office 365 365 Enterprise E3 and E5 subscriptions. If a mailbox is assigned an Exchange Online (Plan 1) license (which is part of an Office 365 365 Enterprise E1 subscription), you would have to assign it a separate Exchange Online Archiving license so that a hold can be placed on the mailbox before it’s deleted.

So it is important to understand that you need an advanced license for this.


Exchange Online Mailbox only has 25gb Storage Quota

Some of my customers mailboxes were still displaying 25gb as their mailbox storage quota size instead of 50gb.

 So the fix is quite simple.
Firstly connect to Exchange Online via Powershell.
1. Set-ExecutionPolicy unrestricted
2. $LiveCred = Get-Credential
3. $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri -Credential $LiveCred -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
4. Import-PSSession $Session
Then run the following CMDlet which will increase the size to 50gb for all user mailboxes:
Get-mailbox -resultsize | Set-Mailbox -ProhibitSendReceiveQuota 50GB -ProhibitSendQuota 49.75GB -IssueWarningQuota 49.5GB

External recipients don’t receive email messages that are send to a distribution group in Exchange Online.

During one of my recent migrations from an on premise Exchange to Office 365 some people complained to me that some distribution group members didn’t receive messages send to this distribution group.

During my tests I’ve noticed that the external Anti-Spam solution didn’t accepted the messages he received for the external recipients. I also noticed that the sender was not getting any non-delivery reports.

After some investigation I found out that the distribution group parameter “ReportToOriginatorEnabled” in Exchange Online by default is set to False, which is different from the on premise Exchange version where this parameter is by default set to True.

To fix this behavior I used PowerShell:

Set-DistributionGroup “<DistributionGroupName>” – ReportToOriginatorEnabled $true

More info:


Submitted by Bart Roels – – @FomeZ

SharePoint Document Management – Facts about versioning

Main selling point

Versioning has always been one of the main selling points for SharePoint Document Management. At least, that’s what I always use as an, there are more of course, argument for storing documents in SharePoint instead of file shares. While I was preparing my presentation about Best Practices: Document Management in SharePoint 2013 for SharePoint Connections Amsterdam 2013, I started to wonder if versioning worked as well as I thought it did. Let’s take a closer look.

New versions

When are new versions actually created in SharePoint? A new version is created when you:

  1. Upload a new document
  2. Upload document with the same name
  3. Change the properties of the document
  4. Open, edit or save the document

Upload a new document

The first version is created when I upload a new document into a SharePoint document library:

Upload document with the same name

What happens if I upload the same document again? The following pop-up appears:
Yes, I am sure! So I click on Replace it:
The document is now version 0.2.

Change the properties of the document

Let’s change the name of document:
This also results in a new version:
Please be careful! Even without actually changing the properties but clicking on Save results in a new version.

Open, edit or save the document

This one makes sense of course so after I open the document in the browser and edit some text a new version is created:


What about co-authoring? Working together with multiple people in the document, how does this impact the versioning? This is the official answer from Microsoft:

“During co-authoring of a document, when a different user begins working on the document or when a user clicks save to upload changes to the library. The default time period for creating new versions during co-authoring is 30 minutes, but an administrator can change that setting.”
I actually tried this in my Microsoft Office 365 demo tenant but without success. After staying in the document, with multiple users, for over 30 minutes no new versions were created. Unfortunately I cannot test this in an on-premises SharePoint site.

Does it work?

To be honest, that really depends on your situation and business requirements. Let’s take a look at my work situation:
I write project proposals together with a technical specialist, project manager and account manager. I create the proposal and for me its now version 0.1. After I am done, this can take multiple days, I create version 0.2 and hand the document over to the technical specialist. He or she writes her part of the proposal and turns it into 0.3 before handing it over to the project manager. After the project manager and the account manager are done, the proposal is at 0.5 and can be send to the customer as version 1.0.
This doesn’t work with SharePoint versioning because SharePoint keeps creating versions after I continue working the next day and after I close and reopen the document. You can have more control with versions. You have to work with check-in and check-out. The only downside is that it disables co-authoring.
Please really take a look at your or your customers, or your own, requirements around versioning to see if SharePoint versioning works.