Due to the health restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, the businesses community was forced to adopt hybrid work environments. In working remotely, people began relying more on Microsoft 365 tools to stay connected and for collaboration. Two years later, many professionals are now comfortable using Microsoft Teams. They work together on files, chat with colleagues, schedule meetings and so on.

Microsoft Teams

Another benefit of Teams is communicating with contacts outside an organization. In this blog post, we will walk you through the ins and outs of “guest” versus “external” access. We will do this so that you can make an informed decision about these options and how they may be useful to your business. Which one will you use, both perhaps?

You may be thinking, well, what is the difference between guest access and external access?

Guest access: Guests are individual users invited from outside of an organization to Teams and channels within Microsoft Teams. They can make calls, participate in chat, and channel conversations, setup meetings and access files. In a nutshell, guests can partake in all the same Teams activities as those from within the organization. Access can be granted to anyone with an email address, for example Outlook or Gmail, among others.

External access:  Allow Teams users in specified external domains to chat, call, and send meeting invitations to people in an organization. External users cannot access Teams files or activities. Therefore, this option is best for those who would like to collaborate via chat. You will be able to switch between the two if you are granted external access to another Teams tenant — within the Teams application.

Benefits of guest and external access

  • Collaboration
  • File sharing
  • Permission control
  • Identity verification
  • Reduced licensing
  • Data retention

You will need to configure guest access and you may want to set some limitations. When doing this, your admin should consider:

  • Who can invite guests
  • Guest user management
  • Group membership
  • Guest permissions

There are numerous reasons why an organization would configure guest and external access. And if you are using Microsoft Teams already and have a need to communicate with outside parties why bother with email? Or why bother with any other tool when you may leverage your Microsoft 365 subscription even more?

At Smart Dolphins IT, president Dave Monahan uses external access to participate in an industry peer group. In this case, Dave is the guest of an external team and therefore, he toggles tenants within the Teams environment. Consider the ways that your business could be taking advantage of Teams to work more efficiently with customers, suppliers, or third-party consultants? Could you be using guest access to manage client projects?

Another common use in our client base is among not-for-profits. Not-for-profit executives use guest access to communicate with board members outside the organization. They also share meeting minutes, discuss topics between meetings and host and record those meetings.

We hope we have made a clear business case for guest and external access in Teams. Collaboration is at the heart of how we work, and Microsoft Teams makes it easier than ever to do so with those inside and outside our organizations. That said, good governance around managing Teams is key.

Join us on April 21st for an introductory session on guest versus external access with Microsoft Master Instructor JoLynn Rihn. Register at: https://www.smartdolphins.com/training/

Leverage Microsoft 365 for success