Communicate with external users in Microsoft Teams

During 2020, usage of Microsoft Teams has dramatically increased. With more users working from home, the logistics behind the app have changed. Demand for more functionality and a seamless experience not unlike the office has meant Microsoft’s development of the product has certainly been prioritised. Now, users are able to communicate easily on Teams with contacts outside their organisation. 

Products such as Zoom have dominated the online communication market; and this is all well and good for ad hoc calls. However, users need to collaborate more than ever. Teams allows users to share documents and co-author documents simultaneously; document management isn’t affected during a call, as it’s underpinned by SharePoint in the background. There’s no need to upload and share potentially out of date documents, wait for them to be edited and then sent back. Everything can be done on a call – and, with people outside your organisation. 

How do I use Microsoft Teams to communicate with external users?

Here’s how you do it. If you’re to have an ad hoc meeting with perhaps a supplier or even an interview candidate, you can temporarily add them as a ‘guest’ to a meeting. This way, they’re not ingrained into your organisation’s network and you can still use the Teams functionality as needed. You can ass guests to your team simply by using their email address – no complicated forms here!

If there’s a whole domain you might need to speak with, such as various people in a partnering company or a client, then you can set up external access for a whole domain.

It’s worth noting that external users won’t have access to your organisation’s teams or team resources – a good security point. Select external access when you want to communicate with users who are still on Skype for Business (online or on premises) or Skype.

You don’t need to decide between guest access or domain; you can have both if your organisation prefers it.

Ultimately. guest users will have more access than external domain users. You’ll need to think about what you want these people to do. If you know you’ll need to have group chats, or access Teams resources, then guest access is the way to go.

Microsoft Teams is a brilliant tool for Microsoft 365 users. In recent months, Microsoft have increased its functionality. We don’t think they’ll ease up any time soon, either.

From a security and compliance point of view, we’d always recommend testing your setup and testing participants first before having an external session. If you have any questions about Teams setups for your organisation, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to recommend what’s best for you.