4 Big Microsoft Teams And Security Updates At Build 2021

The company is using the conference for developers to unveil updates including more controls for developers and administrators in Teams and a tamper-proof ledger powered by Azure.

Focus On Developers

Microsoft is using its Build 2021 conference for developers to unveil significant updates for two of its widely used solutions--the Teams collaboration app and Azure Active Directory authentication service. The updates include more controls for developers and administrators in Teams, a new Teams store experience for third-party apps, a tamper-proof ledger powered by Azure and a metered Microsoft Graph service.

Murray Foxcroft, chief technology officer of Atlanta-based ProArch, a Microsoft Gold partner, told CRN that the conversation with customers is turning to activity around Teams. He’s heard requests for bots and more integrations with Microsoft-built and third-party applications. And Microsoft 365 continues to be a gateway service to start a customer before introducing them to other Microsoft products and services. “There‘s a whole ecosystem that’s starting to build out around Teams,” Foxcroft said.

Kelly Yeh, president of Chantilly, Va.-based solution provider Phalanx Technology, told CRN that Microsoft 365, which includes Teams, continues to be a starting point with new customers. Recently, customers have sought Teams for its internet-connected phone system abilities. “If you‘re going with a hosted voice over IP provider you’re more than likely going to have the ability to then use Teams as your call manager,” Yeh said.

Teams had more than 145 million daily active users as of late April, the company disclosed at the time. On Microsoft’s earnings call in April, CEO Satya Nadella said that Teams usage has grown in markets that returned to the workplace earliest. “The number of organizations with more than 1,000 users, integrating their third-party and line of business applications with Teams has increased nearly 3 times year over year,” he said.

Along with updates to Teams, Microsoft announced some major changes to its Microsoft Graph programmability model that gives access to data in Microsoft 365, Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) and Windows 10, as well as updates to some of its Azure-powered tools and services. What follows are four big Microsoft Teams and security updates at Build 2021.

More Teams Controls For Developers

At Build 2021, Microsoft unveiled new previews of ways to develop related to the Teams collaboration app. Select developers can now access the “main stage” in a Teams meeting through a configuration in the app manifest. Integrations to allow for real-time, multi-user collaboration on whiteboard, design, project boards and other activities. Also in preview are Microsoft Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code features to reduce the amount of code needed for Teams application development. Developers can also explore integrations with Azure Functions and Microsoft Graph.

A private preview is now available for fluid components in Microsoft Teams chat. These fluid components allow users to message a table, action item or list that can be co-authored and edited by everyone in line.

And this summer will bring a preview for users and administrators to buy third-party app license subscriptions from the Teams app store and Teams admin center.

Enhanced Developer Portal For In-Teams Purchases

Microsoft revealed during Build 2021 that the developer portal for Teams has received enhanced features including an in-Teams purchase experience and ability to give colleagues read or write access to Teams apps under development. This should give partners new ways to make money from products and services, according to Microsoft. Developers will also gain a new ability this summer to create custom backgrounds for Teams’ Together mode that puts all call participants on a shared background.

Teams will also add real-time access to audio and video streams for transcription, translation, note-taking and insights, Microsoft announced at Build. Administrators will have the ability to view these permissions from the Teams admin center and validate application access to meetings, the company said.

Microsoft Promises Tamper-Proof Ledger Tool

Microsoft released a preview of the Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) Continuous Access Evaluation (CAE) authentication feature for Microsoft Graph, allowing developers to update and test applications that use Graph APIs to increase app security.

CAE in Azure AD reevaluates active user sessions in real time instead of the more common 60-minute intervals, Microsoft said. CAE in Azure AD can also revoke access to protected resources when devices are lost, users change passwords or user accounts are disabled. CAE can stop a user from accessing secured resources based on the user’s location, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft has released a preview for select users of Azure Confidential Ledger, a new managed service for sensitive data storage. The tech giant bills the tool as the first ledger in the market to be tamper-proof, tamper-evident and use a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), the secure area of a main processor.

ACL is usable in multiparty scenarios where multiple people need access to data with protected privacy. ACL can be used in collaborative workspaces or auditing applications. ACL can also verify ledgers and data haven’t been tampered with.

A preview of MS Identity App Sync gives developers a new command line tool in Visual Studio 2019.10. The tool registers and configures ASP.NET Core applications. Developers can use the tool to update code from existing Azure ADs or Azure AD Business to Consumer applications.

And now in public preview is an integration between Azure Security Center and GitHub for container screening, creating a new way for development and security operations teams to work together. Developers gain visibility into build and registry container scan results while SecOps teams can send alerts to issues sooner.

A Metered Microsoft Graph Service

Microsoft revealed new capabilities for its Graph tool used to integrate Microsoft 365, Windows 10 and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) products and services.

Graph connectors, used to onboard, index and surface metadata across Microsoft 365, will soon allow administrators to map properties to Microsoft 365 people cards in an organization. Graph connector data will soon become available in Teams and Windows, and connectors to Jira and Confluence are coming.

Graph Data Connect is now in preview on Azure, allowing users to copy select Microsoft 365 productivity datasets into an Azure tenant. Graph Data Connect is metered as opposed to the per-user per-month model of Microsoft 365 products, meaning developers are only charged for data consumed, according to the company.

This summer, Microsoft will release a preview for connector support with eDiscovery to improve users’ search for third-party systems.