How to manage third-party app usage for Microsoft Teams

There is a great number of third-party apps out there and the numbers are still rising rapidly. The problem with those third-party apps is the governance you want or GDPR you have to meet when running a business, especially in the cloud. Of course, you can now get a mail out with caution on not using third-party apps but do you really think users will take note of that? Maybe a few weeks but after that, there will be more than one third-party app you do not want to run in your environment.

Shame on the users? I do not think it is their fault! Especially the users with a lower affinity for tech and software are not aware of this thing called “third-party” they use them but they often not even know! So please take care of them and their data because they often do not even know what could happen.

With this have been said let´s dive right in!

To manage the provided apps move from your general admin center to the “Services & add-ins” tab. Scroll down to Microsoft Teams and open up the options. As you may see there are already some warnings things are moving to the Teams admin center.

If you open up the “Apps” dropdown you will see a greater choice of settings before we go on let´s get some definitions done:

Default Apps – these are the ones Microsoft provides to you such as Microsoft Planner, Flow and so on

External Apps – these are third-party apps which are available to you and your users through the Appstore

Sideloading – in case you turned this on, for example, team owners are able to build in third-party apps even if you turned off third-party apps in general

As you can see there are plenty of Microsoft apps below the default apps tab, you can make them available by checking the box or the other way around. For some of you, this might be interesting in case there are apps you do not want your users to use.

Getting back to the third-party apps you can now work with the slider to allow or deny these external ones. Again you might check some facts out before enabling one of these apps regarding data privacy and so on. By denying sideloading you can affect the right of team owners to load external apps in their teams tabs etc.

As you can imagine by sliding the sliders both to “Off” external apps are no longer available in your tenant. Sliding only the first one to “Off” and the second one to “On” there will be the possibility to load apps for team owners.

If external apps are allowed you can see a list of all apps below the sliders. In this list, you can use checkboxes to pick out apps you want to allow in your tenant. If this is the option you want to go for please be aware of the last slider hiding below your app list. With this one, you can decide if new external apps should be enabled by default or not.

When it comes down to decisions like this it is always a grade hike not to frustrate the end-users by limiting their opportunities but to be aware of your data. In case you have the possibility to ask your end-users for apps they would like to use to take their wishes and try to find out if the app is fitting your compliance and governance. In case it does allow external apps, decline sideloading and only check the one you researched on. For researching please check out the link at the very end of this post as it can help you out with information for apps.

Annotations:
There is already a feature announced where you can edit the policy right from the Teams admin center, but this feature is still in development as I am writing this post. In case Microsoft already published it you will find this setting below the “Teams apps” tab you already know

In case you need a overview of some common apps please see the following link https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/teams-app-certification/all-apps?toc=/MicrosoftTeams/toc.json&bc=/microsoftteams/breadcrumb/toc.json

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