Understand Documents in Public Teams are really public!

There we are again after a serious blogging break. It has been a crazy period with so much nice new Office 365 developments and it is really time to start sharing a situation I encountered with you.

We have to realize that public Teams are really public even for non-members!

Following up on the very nice Storyals concept of explaining a Microsoft Team as a house with rooms, I would love you to understand that a PUBLIC TEAM is like a PUBLIC MEETING PLACE in the village. Everyone in your community HAS FREE ACCESS to the DOCUMENTS in this place and the CONTENT IS EVEN ADVERTISED within the community. And you even do not need to be known to visit here.

Let’s go back to Office 365 terms.

  • A user does not need to be an effective member of a Public Team to see the documents shared in this Team
  • Public Team Documents show up in applications like Delve and other locations where Office 365 Graphs engine loves to show you suggestions and “this might also be of interest to you”-documents.

To understand this further we have to look a the fundamentals of the file location of a Team and what happens when a Team is set to be public.

Files in Teams are stored in two locations:

  • Files shared in private chat are placed in a subfolder within OneDrive of each of the chat participants
  • Files shared via Team Channels, and found via the Files Tab, are stored in the default document library, under a subfolder for each channel, on the SharePoint Group site collection where the Office Group and the Team are relying on.

So looking at the SharePoint Document Library permissions this is what we see:


The Site Members group has, next to the “Ruled by Teams membership”-Team Members group, ALSO “Everyone except external users” added!

Meaning that whenever someone within the organization gets a link to a document, from Delve, suggestions feed or via other means, this user can access, READ AND EDIT, the document without even opening Teams or even having the corresponding Team added within Teams (and being a registered Team-member).

This all is not an issue in case you are aware of this and you make a clear choice to create or set a Team as Public.

My recommendation is to start always with Private Teams and ONLY go into PUBLIC mode if the data is really FOR ALL EYES TO SEE.

Inform your users about this and make them well aware of making the right choice to avoid data leakage and embarrassing situations.

Teams are great, just know what you are doing!

Read more on Microsoft’s instruction page: Default SharePoint groups, section on “everyone except external Users”

Be informed 🙂

Switching apps dilemma, or not?

Someone send me the following ZDNet article “Survey confirms collaboration and the apps that come with it still suck – We’re wasting so much time collaborating and toggling between apps it’s a miracle any work actually gets done.”

The problem with this survey is that the loss due to the self-centered tools like email is not taken into account. The switching between tools, in my opinion, is compensated more than enough by the gain in team collaboration productivity.

It is also not surprising that it is exactly the older generation that cannot keep up and prefers to stay with the email client because the longer you are used to working a certain way the more difficult it is, in general, to change and start doing thing differently. Just human nature.

The strength of Office 365 is exactly what it is all under one roof and you are less and less switching because you are just moving around within 1 environment.

Office 365 apps are getting so integrated with each other that you can go start speaking about the One Office app. What we might now consider as all separate apps of Office 365 to switch between, are actually just different areas of the One Office app, where you do different things for different purposes.


This article fits with a statement put in one of the Collaboris community guest Teams channels: “one or several team members were heavily established in Outlook – meaning: the mail archive was the primary information repository for these members and they had a very large and detailed mail archive with folders, categories, automated rules, and more. For these members, the switch from Outlook email to Teams conversations equaled a loss of control over how they own and manage the information (an email in Outlook is personal – a conversation in Teams is collectively owned and cannot be tagged and archived individually like a mail).”

What we read here is the reason that blocks modernizing, knowledge sharing and enhanced productivity.

This is typical “me” thinking instead of “we”.

With personal inboxes info is not available for lookup by Team members(in case they were not in the loop of the email cycle). Keeping everyone in the loop by email creates a hog of emails back and forth. Also maintaining documents in your attachments as file storage is entirely not where your mail client was meant for.

So how do we break this line of thought and get people to understand the real power of One Office 365 and forget about the switching apps idea?

The what’s in it for US factor!

Another community post stated: “Have any of you introduced Teams into an organization that already uses Yammer & Skype? What experience or reaction did you have from your user base? My organization is not exactly tech-savvy and is only beginning to come to terms with Yammer and Skype 😄

I my opinion “coming to terms” should change to “embracing” what only works in case the “What’s in it for us” question can be answered by each user with a positive answer driving the user to want to adopt for the benefit of the entire company towards a more productive, enjoyable and efficient work environment, cost reduction and quality of work inprovement.

The focus should not on the need of an IT department to force the new tools on the users but to find the specific need of each user group and the organization that can be better full filled with using more of the capabilities of Office 365.
Especially in an organization with a very conservative attitude, this can be difficult. Here it is very beneficial to find yourself some progressive users that are eager to improve and get new tools and get them test and demo “best use cases” to the rest of the organization.


Lets embrace the One Office 365 app and start to explore how it can enhance our work!


See also my article Office365 Apps Adoption


Office 365 – The proper mindset, names and titles

I encountered several discussions within communities regarding the “issue” that Office 365 apps like Teams would get the new feature of making private Teams findable via search so users can apply to become a member.

The discussion point is that this way the title of the team could reveal information that the private team actually wants to keep await from the public and that’s the first reason why a private team was created (and not a public one).

Some suggestions raised where to have special display settings for administrators to make private teams visible or not, or to have some powershell scripts to hide private groups from the Teams search (in case this feature would come to light).

In my opinion, you are much safer to have a proper mindset. With Office 365 it’s so dynamic that counting on display settings and powershell is for me secondary.

I believe it also about awareness and education. Microsoft has always had the “show it all” concept. I never liked the idea that anyone can see all file share folders on a network drive even without having read access, but that is what it is.

Once you know you become much more careful with titles, the same now for private groups and teams.

So do not reveal your critical info in the names and titles of Teams, Groups, Sites, Lists, etc..

When I was part of a Research and Development team, we used for several projects code names only known to very selective people with NDA’s signed for secrecy due to customer requirements that it can not be identified by the rest of the organization where we are working on or prospecting for.

Taking your work seriously also means watching out for what you write down and where. Throwing it all at IT in case of information leaks because someone puts a “billboard” out is pushing away responsibility.

The reason I would like private groups and teams not visible is likewise with the old file shares, to have the views much more organized and cleaned up. The less you see, the easier you find back what you need and do have access to.

The release of the feature to have private Teams findable seems to be on hold for the moment, but this does not change my idea to think twice before you write something.

Happy name giving!

Collab365 Global Conference, the online place to be November 1st-2nd 2017

So you want to know more about the latest updates on Office 365 and SharePoint? No need to go out the door, join the Collab365 Global Conference on the 1st November 2017 for 24 hours of SharePoint, Azure, PowerApps, Flow, Teams and Office 365 content.

This is a great online platform to get informed and learn about the latest news, you only need to invest some of your time and schedule your online presence for this will be 24 hours of great and inspiring presentations.

“Collab365 – Microsoft Based Events”

Collab365 Global Conference Logo 2017


24hr Global Conference
Date : November 1st-2nd 2017

Register for Collab365 Global Conference on the 1st November 2017 for 24 hours of SharePoint, Azure, PowerApps, Flow, Teams and Office 365 content.

Everybody can join for free, beginner or expert, you all will find topics to your liking.

Enjoy and see you there online!