Latest Updates for Office 365 Groups - April 2017

07 Apr 2017 | Sajin Sahadevan

Do you have any idea about the number of Office 365 subscribers today? It isn’t surprising that Microsoft has over 85 Million users with the kind of features that is being offered in the Office 365 Packages. Irrespective of how big/small the organization is, different team demands and productivity requirements; Office 365 proves to be the best collaboration platform for your business!

Office 365 is empowered with Outlook, Skype for Business, OneDrive for Business, Yammer, OneNote, Planner and of course the latest addition, Microsoft Teams! You will be able to format, structure and store data in such a way where you have access to various applications using your devices – ensuring security and manageability.

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Office 365 Groups Updates

For sure, this is going to be a great news for the IT Admins as they will be able to manage the groups, control directories and manage security easily. Microsoft has come up with the latest updates for Office 365 Groups: 

  1. Data classification - You will be able to create a custom data classification system for O365 Groups like corporate confidential, unclassified or top secret.
  2. O365 Groups - Activity Report – You can leverage SharePoint Sites usage report for tracking the groups file storage. Also, you can monitor message received, group mailboxes storage etc.
  3. Retention policies – IT Admins can now create O365 Groups retention policies which apply to group’s shared files and inboxes in a single step using O365 Security and Compliance Center. You can also manage group content created by defining retention policies to have what you require and delete what you don’t want.
  4. Upgrade Distribution Groups to O365 Groups – The IT Admins can upgrade qualified Distribution Groups to O365 Groups with a click of a button via Exchange Admin Center.
  5. Creation Policy – You will be able to manage creation permissions in your directory and avoid certain users to create new groups.
  6. Azure AD Connect – The IT Admins will be able to perform group writeback to the AD to support the on-prem Exchange mailboxes.
  7. Guest access – This feature helps your team to interact with external parties by giving them access to the files, group conversations, calendar invites etc.
  8. Label management – With this, you will be able to segregate O365 Group files and emails within your company for security reasons and bring in retention rules based on the type of classifications you have defined.
  9. Restoring the deleted groups – Oops, did you accidently delete your O365 Group? Don’t worry, you will have it retained for a 30-day period by default. You have the chance to restore the deleted group and its associated data through latest PowerShell cmdlet.
  10. Hidden Membership – Want to keep your group membership confidential? You can hide O365 group members from your users who aren’t members of your group.
  11. Usage Guidelines – Define your usage guidelines for O365 Groups to teach your users about the recommended ways to keep the groups active and teach them about the content policies too.
  12. Dynamic Membership – IT Admins will be able to define groups using rule-based memberships with the help of PowerShell or Microsoft Azure Management Portal. As the users’ properties get updated, the group membership also gets updated within minutes.

What are the future updates?

Microsoft is planning to improve the admin capabilities as per the customer feedback. That’s very important as O365 is a subscription based service. Let’s check out the upcoming enhancements for the next 3 months:

  1. Default Classification – What we can expect is that admins will be able to set O365 Group Classification at the tenant level by default using the PowerShell cmdlets. Descriptions can also be given for each defined classification.
  2. Azure AD naming policy – You will be able to configure policies for appending text to the start or end of group name and email addresses. It doesn’t matter how the group is created like Planner, Outlook or Power BI, etc. You can configure list of blocked words which cannot be used in the group names.
  3. Expiry Policy – You can setup a policy which can be used to delete a group and its associated apps automatically after a certain period. With this feature, the group owner receives an email just before the expiry date notifying about the group deletion. When the expiry date has approached, the group gets soft deleted for a period of 30 days. The IT Admin will be able to restore it if required.
  4. Group Classification available when creating or modifying group across apps – You should be able to select group classification when editing/creating groups across the following applications:
  • Planner
  • Outlook
  • SharePoint
  • StaffHub and
  • Yammer