Guest access in Microsoft Teams

In September 2017 Microsoft released guest access to Microsoft Teams. Now you can add external workforce accounts to your Team based on their Office 365 Account or Microsoft Account. I was really hot for that feature as now I can add my customers to the corresponding project Teams workspace. Gone are the days where we needed to work based on Office 365 groups, Sharepoint etc. as Teams gives us all of that in a unified application.

Start using external access

Earlier today I struggled with enabling guest access. Now as I know the resolution for my issue I wonder about the Office 365 support member who also was not aware of how to enable the Teams guest access in a tenant. So I’d like to take this article as a note to myself as well to never forget on how to do a basic configuration when dealing with guest access.

Luckily, how a guest joins a team by Microsoft explains this. Before you’re going to use external access, you must enable it. You can do so by logging in as a Global Administrator, then find “Settings” in your Admin App and go to Security and Addins. Find Microsoft Teams in the list displayed in the main window.

In the new window on the right, find “Settings by user/license type”. Switch to “Guest” on the “Select the user/license type you want to configure” and ensure this is enabled. External access cannot be granted if this switch is turned off.

Adjust other settings, like Apps and Custom Cloud Storage to meet your needs on this dialog.

Now as you have enabled guest access, you can start adding external accounts to your teams using the default user management dialog on your Team.

User experience as a guest account – limitations

Guest users are currently limited on some capabilities. At the moment of writing a guest is unable to perform these operations

  • cannot share a file via group chat
  • cannot add Apps, Bots or channels
  • cannot manage team guest policies
  • can only work as a member of an existing team; a guest cannot create new teams in your tenant
  • cannot discover or join other “public” teams in your tenant
  • cannot view the org chart.

Keep in mind that, based on the uservoice link mentioned above, a guest access is mainly focussed to contribute content to an existing team. So except the file sharing limitation on a chat all current limitations look fine for me.

Guest access licensing

On the Microsoft Documentation page mentioned before you can read “Guest access is included with all Office 365 Business Premium, Office 365 Enterprise, and Office 365 Education subscriptions. No additional Office 365 license is necessary.”. This is really great stuff. In my case, only a few number of licenses are assigned to my tenant, as me, my family and some friends are using that.

With guest access, you as a team owner are responsible to manage your teams while you do not need to worry about your team mates licensing.

What else?

There is another blog article Microsoft Teams: Enabling and Using Guest Access which deals more in depth with guest access as an Azure AD B2B collaboration. This article is very helpful for you as an administrator if you need to monitor peoples access to your teams and usage. I strongly suggest to read and understand that before you grant external access.