Microsoft Teams Essentials

The Setup, Intro & Tutorial

Set up Microsoft Teams Essentials, our new most affordable option. Get the best of Teams with easy instant meetings for anyone — whether they have Teams or not. The Microsoft Teams Essentials experience starts at just $4 per user per month with no meeting time limits. Jeremy Chapman, Microsoft 365 Director, walks you through step-by-step setup options.

  • Sync your existing calendar with Teams. Configure email to be delivered to both Google and Microsoft services with dual delivery.
  • Use Teams without migrating your mailboxes to the cloud. Allow read and write access across calendars in your on-prem mailboxes when using Microsoft Exchange.
  • Experience rich online meetings with video and voice, chat-based collaboration with everyone on your team, your customers, or your partners
  • Easily share your screen or other content with anyone in the meeting, and work simultaneously on documents in the Microsoft Office experience.

QUICK LINKS:

01:31 — Setup options

02:19 — Paths to deploy Teams Essentials

04:07 — Walk through configuration

05:42 — Sync calendars with Teams

09:18 — Route mail from Microsoft 365 to Gmail

10:17 — Set up mail flow rules

11:34 — Wrap up

Link References:

Check out setup options and sign up for the service at https://aka.ms/TeamsPlans

Find a Microsoft certified partner near you at https://aka.ms/PartnerFinder

If you are the partner or looking to tackle this yourself, go to https://aka.ms/ExchangeHybridCalendar

To learn more, check out https://aka.ms/TeamsEssentials

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Video Transcript:

-Up next, we’ll take a look at Microsoft Teams Essentials, our new, most affordable option, and the steps to set it up. Teams Essentials brings the best of Teams, including easy instant meetings, which allows anyone, whether they have Teams or not, both inside and outside of your business, to meet online. In fact, the good news with Microsoft Teams Essentials is, compared to other options which can have restrictive meeting time limits, with Teams Essentials priced at $4 per user per month in the US, the experience is available at a fraction of the cost to businesses with up to 300 people.

-And there are two options for getting Teams Essentials. First through Microsoft.com, you can access a streamlined version of Teams Essentials that uses a Microsoft account, like Outlook.com with a simple setup experience. Or through select Microsoft certified partners, you can also access Teams Essentials, which gives you a few more options. It uses Microsoft 365 commercial services and Azure Active Directory work accounts.

-Now regardless of where you acquire Teams Essentials, some of the highlights of what you can experience include: rich online meetings with video and voice; you can easily share your screen or other content with anyone in the meeting; chat-based collaboration with everyone on your team, your customers, or your partners; and a powerful Microsoft Office experience with web applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, so you can work simultaneously on your documents together.

-Now, let’s switch gears to the setup options. If you want to do this yourself, the easiest way is to sign up for the service at aka.ms/TeamsPlans. And once you’re logged in with your Microsoft account, your Teams calendar is ready to go. That said, if you’re using a Google calendar right now, it’s easy to add one. Now here, you just need to select the Add Google Calendar option and sign into your account and allow access. From there, once it’s added, it becomes the default calendar in Teams, so everything is always in sync. And this is something that each user would do to add the Google calendar into Teams.

-Now, the other option available through select Microsoft certified partners is to configure similar settings centrally and integrate other calendaring and email services beyond Google’s calendar. Now, there are two common paths to deploy Teams Essentials depending on your current email provider. First, if you’re using Microsoft Exchange email on premises, you can configure the online Teams service to have read and write access to calendars in your on-prem mailboxes. And this is also a great option to use Teams without migrating your mailboxes into the cloud. And there are lots of Microsoft certified partners out there who are ready to help you move to a hybrid configuration. You can go to aka.ms/PartnerFinder to find a partner near you. And if you are the partner or looking to tackle this yourself, check out aka.ms/ExchangeHybridCalendar.

-Now, if you’re using other email services, you can configure Teams Essentials to sign in and have a unified and synchronized calendar with your current calendar. Let me explain how this works. So when you integrate your email and calendar with Microsoft Teams, you’re actually creating two email services using shared email accounts that work together. Now your existing email service remains in place and will continue to handle core email messaging and file attachments.

-The second email service used by Teams, that’s running into Microsoft 365, will be used in tandem with your existing email service also to send and receive any email messages that contain calendaring information. Now, this means that meeting invites and RSVP messages that you send or receive from your current email will flow into Teams, and conversely any Teams-generated invites or RSVP messages will also be directed to your existing email service and both services and systems are constantly communicating with one another. And to get this dual messaging flow to work, your partner will need to configure experiences in both your existing service and in the Microsoft 365 admin center.

-Next, let me walk you through the configuration required to get this working. So here, I’m going to show you an example of the admin experience for connecting to Google Workspace, which will be a similar process for other email services that you integrate with Teams. Now I’ll start in the Microsoft 365 admin center. In domain settings, you’ll see that I have my own custom domain set up as contosolandscaping2.m365master.com. Now one pro tip here, if you have a custom domain be sure to configure it before you add users so that you don’t have to do that twice. And when you set up a custom domain for integrated registrars like 1&1 IONOS, EuroDNS, Cloudflare, GoDaddy, WordPress, Plesk, and MediaTemple, you can sign into their service, and most of the settings are auto-filled. Otherwise, you’re going to need to add a text record to your domain host and verify it. Importantly though, because we want to keep the current email system running as is, you don’t want to allow Microsoft 365 to configure your DNS. It’s also important that you leave the existing MX or mail exchange records in place for your ISP and don’t modify them. In this demo scenario, we’re going to keep Gmail as the default email service.

-So now that I’ve got my domain added, now I can add other users from my business quickly. Now here in Microsoft 365 admin center, under active users, I’m going to click Add a user. Then, I’m just going to enter all their details. And now I’ll assign them a Teams Essentials license. And when I’m finished, we’ll email them a temporary password that they’ll change on first login. Now, let’s get our existing calendar to sync with Teams. And to do that, I’m going to head over to Google Workspace. And here we’re basically configuring the email to be delivered to both Google and Microsoft services, what’s called dual delivery.

-Now in my Google admin settings, I’ve added a route for Microsoft 365. So to get there, I navigate to apps, then Google Workspace, and then Gmail and hosts. Now, I’ve already added this host called Microsoft 365. And I’ll click into edit, and you’ll see that it’s a single host, and I’ve defined my email server with the MX record, which is typically your public domain name, in my case that’s contosolandscaping2, with a standard suffix of .mail.protection.outlook.com. And we’re also using SMTP port 25. And all of the recommended options are configured in this case.

-So next you’ll also need to configure a routing rule in your Gmail settings. So I’m going to navigate up a level, then scroll down to routing, and you can see that I have a rule that’s called Gmail to Office 365. I’m going to click edit, and you can see what’s configured here. So here I have both inbound and internal messages that are affected, and down in also deliver to, I’ve also added more recipients as a secondary mail route. Now, when I click edit into that one, you’re going to see that under change route Microsoft 365 from the available hosts that I showed earlier is already selected. And in attachments, remove attachments from message is enabled. Again, this is because we only need calendaring information.

-So now we need to make sure that my Google account can receive mail from my Microsoft 365 accounts using a forwarding rule. Now in the left navigation, I’m going to go to account, then domains, then manage domains, and you can see that our contosolandscaping2.m365master.com domain has been added, and it’s verified and Gmail is activated on it. Now as a secondary domain to receive messages generated from Microsoft 365, I’ve also added a user alias domain with this one here, g.contosolandscaping2. And Gmail is activated on it as well. And if I hover over the question mark, you’re going to see that I skipped the MX record setup in this case. And one thing that you can’t see here, when I set up this user alias domain, under route mail to another server screen, I copied the default address, because I’m going to need that in a minute, and I also clicked I use another mail server.

-So now, I need to make sure that my incoming Microsoft 365 mail is allowed through the spam filter and to do that, I need to configure a content compliance setting. So back in apps, then Google workspace, Gmail, and under compliance: in content compliance you’ll see that I have a rule that’s called allow M365. Now it’s an inbound email rule looking for an explicit, full header match in this case, importantly, the ‘if any of the following match the message’ option is selected. And this is just one way to accomplish this.

-Now let me show you where to find this value. So I’ve used another account, Megan Bowen, in this case to create a meeting in Microsoft Teams in order to send me the mail that you see here. Now under the three dots here on the right, if I go into show original, in content now I need to find the header value that identifies mails from my specific Microsoft 365 tenant. It’s this one here with the cross tenant ID. Now each of these is going to be unique, so your ID is going to be different. And if I switch back to my rule, you’ll also see that spam is bypassed for messages that contain this header value.

-Next, there are a few more things to configure on the Microsoft 365 side in order to route mail in the opposite direction, this time from Microsoft 365 into Gmail. Things like my meeting invites, my RSVP replies that I’ll be generating from Microsoft Teams. Now these settings are configured in the Exchange admin center. So in Mail flow and Connectors, you’ll see I have a custom Office 365 connector here that’s called M365 to Google. It’s configured to use my secondary or user alias domain. Now, if I open a routing, you can see that the smart mail host is actually set to an address that I copied a minute ago, that aspmx address along with four other default alt prefixes. And next we need to forward mail from Microsoft 365 mailboxes into Gmail in this case for each user. And this can be done one by one for each user’s mailbox, or I can use a custom PowerShell script along with a few variables, as you can see here.

-And now I’ll show you a few mail flow rules that I’ve set up for calendaring messages. Here you can see in the first rule, it accepts all meetings for all users as tentative. Now, this ensures that they show up in the calendar view for Teams. The second rule sends calendaring messages to the deleted items folder automatically. And this last one then deletes all non-calendaring messages coming in from external sources before they hit the mailbox. And since we’re using Gmail in this case as our primary email front-end, you can choose to disable Outlook as an app for interacting with email. So to get to that setting, I’ll go to Mail flow, then Accepted domains, and I’ll click on my primary default domain here, contosolandscaping2. And you’ll see that it’s set to internal relay because our email is still running primarily on another service, and that’s it.

-Now we’ve set up the required bi-directional communication just for email messages with calendaring information. So now calendars in both Microsoft Teams and Gmail will stay in sync with one another whenever you send or receive a new meeting invite or RSVP to a meeting. Of course, the third option would be to migrate your existing email and calendaring experience to Microsoft 365 for the best possible experience, but we’ll save that one for next time.

-So that was an overview of Teams Essentials, and how to set it up. To learn more, check out aka.ms/TeamsEssentials, and keep checking back to Microsoft Mechanics for all the latest updates, and thanks for watching.

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