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Microsoft Teams adds third party file integration

Today, we’re pleased to announce new file storage options in Microsoft Teams, the chat-based workspace in Office 365.

 

In addition to the OneDrive and SharePoint storage included in Teams, which gives every channel a SharePoint folder, users can now share and collaborate on files saved in 3rd party storage locations including Box, Citrix ShareFile, Dropbox, and Google Drive. The new storage options will begin rolling out tomorrow. Office 365 Admins can configure the individual storage providers in the Office 365 Admin Center.

 Add folders from new storage providers into Teams.Add folders from new storage providers into Teams. 

Thanks to everyone who has tried Microsoft Teams for all the great feedback and support. If you haven’t started using Teams yet,

 

Start using Teams today

 

60 Comments
Frequent Contributor

This all really needs to be off by default.  Or at least a big exploding GIF when an Admin logs into Office 365 that says:

 

"Oh, Hey - we just turned on the ability for your users to integrate Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, and Sharefile inside of Teams so your company can totally lose control of your files. Good luck with it!"

Super Contributor

... or maybe follow the existing switch for the same integration in Office Online. I cant see why people would want this on in one service but off in another.

Hi,

 

In order for the Teams to be complete, it is necessary to act better on the permissions of the files and teams.

Contributor

After you have configured the storage provider in the Office 365 Admin Center, how can you see that the features is enabled in Teams?

 

How does this work in Teams, exactly? I was expecting a link to a help article.

 

(I do see those Admin controls in our tenant. Nice to have one day notice to disable the providers we're not using. Would be better if off by default and/or more notice. And where is the Message Center notice about this?????).

Occasional Contributor

Well, it's enabled by default in the Admin Center as of 10am PT 6/22 - checkboxes are visible and on for our tenancy. However, functionality is not visible for end users (as of 10:30am PT) in the Teams desktop app (1.0.00.15951) or the Teams web UI. Yet.

 

The optimist in me says that O365 admins are being given a chance to decide on/off before it's exposed to users.

 

The cynic in me says that the end-user functionality is just on a different segment of the rollout. 

 

Regardless, you have have a window to make admin decisions. Take it.

Occasional Visitor

Hey @Jim Gaynor - do you mind specifying where you see the option in the Admin Center? 

Contributor

If enabled for your tenant, you should see option to "add cloud storage" under the Files tab in any of your channels.

Senior Member

Added ShareFile in Admin Center. Then using the + Add cloud storage in files selected ShareFile (see picture) but after login only get to a window that does not have any folders listed. What should be listed in Choose a folder? ShareFile Personal Folders or Shared Folders?adding ShareFile access to Teamsadding ShareFile access to Teams

Occasional Contributor

1. Add to cloud storage

2. Seamless integration in files tab

3. Not visible in SharePoint DocLib

 

OK!

GoogleDriveInMicrosoftTeams.PNG

Microsoft

Hi all, thanks for your comments and questions.

 

To find the controls by provider for this new cloud storage feature, sign in to your Office 365 Admin Portal and under Settings > Services & Add Ins > Microsoft Teams you'll see the following UI:

AdminPortalSwitches.JPG

 

This feature is now available in production and supports 4 main scenarios for companies using cloud storage providers such as Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and ShareFile:

 

  1. Personal Files
    • Clicking the "Files" button on the app bar (left most navigation region) will show an additional "+ Add cloud storage" button where an individual employee can add their custom cloud storage account and view their folders and files within Teams. This is not visible to other employees.Files - "+ Add cloud storage" buttonFiles - "+ Add cloud storage" button
  2. Channel Files
    • Under the Files tab in channels, there is a new "+ Add cloud storage" button designed to map custom cloud storage folders to a place where teams collaborate. Choosing to map a folder here will enable members of a team (with existing permissions to the folder) to see their content within Teams in this channel. Teams is not modifying access permissions as part of this feature, granting new team members access to resources stored on custom cloud storage accounts will require management through the provider's website.Channel "+ Add cloud storage" buttonChannel "+ Add cloud storage" button

       

  3. Document Viewing
    • Clicking on files within your personal file view or channel files view will display the document in the viewer used by the chosen cloud storage provider within Teams. File type support varies by provider. 
  4. Conversations
    • Team members can start conversations around files stored on their chosen cloud storage provider by clicking to "Start a conversation" when viewing files, or sharing a link via the attach option in messaging. Note that sharing a link in this context doesn't automatically grant access to the file for all team members, permissions set by the storage provider are respected within Teams. Additional cloud storage locations in the messaging attach dialog are only visible when respective accounts have been added to Teams, these are not shown by default.Starting a conversation from the file viewerStarting a conversation from the file viewer

      Messaging attach dialogMessaging attach dialog

Hopefully this makes the core scenarios clearer, please continue to provide your feedback as you discover more. 

Contributor

"I think its a recipe for disaster, the idea is for a corporate environment we should not have any plugins. if people start uploading files to Google Drive and DropBox then we lose the corporate compliance. I hope we can disable this." My Boss's words and I am totally agree with him.

Contributor

I agree that the feature as a default should be "off" and not "on". Besides that, I think the feature is really great! Within a company there CAN be use cases that makes it productive to have access to other content repositories than OneDrive and Sharepoint. For instance I have a client that has used Dropbox for mobile sales workers, and another that uses Box in their marketing department. Now they all can use MS Teams and have direct access to their content!

Contributor

I'd really like to see the external storage folder stubs make their way into the SharePoint Online storage to allow consistency across platform.  Not sure how this would effect syncing group libraries, but to have a reference in one place and not the other is confusing.

 

Also from a data security perspective I agree with others that these should be OFF by default so we can properly communicate with teams on the ramifications instead of cleaning up after the fact.

Contributor

A note on disabling cloud storage providers.  I  disabled Box and DropBox on our tenant.  After 15 minutes, I was still able to add a DropBox account to a channel in Teams.  I had already closed Teams client and re-launched.

 

I found that I needed to sign out of Teams client and sign back in before the disabled cloud service providers disappeared from the options under "Add cloud storage".  Just FYI for other users testing this.

Frequent Contributor

It blows my mind this was turned on by default. There are enought things for system admins to have to keep up with without MS adding features that can risk corporate data and turning them on. This shouldn't be a game of whack-a-mole to disable things before companies can evaluate a new feature that potentially puts corp data in an uncontrolled file storage space.

 

This is the kind of thing that turns larger companies off to great products like Teams. too easy to lose control of data with the plethora of connectors constantly being added.

>It blows my mind this was turned on by default.

Completely agree, especially considering there hasn't been any O365 Message Center post about this.

 

If it is turned on by default it should be more than one day's notice and that notice shouldn't only be posted here.

Microsoft

Hi Ed and Kevin - We sent the heads up message on this via Office 365 Message Center on June 2nd. Here's a copy of that message.

 

Action: Awareness    
New cloud storage options will soon be available in Microsoft Teams. We'll begin rolling this out by the end of June.

This message is associated with Office 365 Roadmap ID 16119.

[How does this affect me?]
Users will be able to upload/share files from additional cloud storage services in Microsoft Teams channels and chats. We will provide details on which storage services will be available, by the end of June.

This feature will be on by default. To give you more control, each individual cloud storage provider will be configurable in Office 365 admin center; including the ability to enable or disable specific cloud storage services. This will provide flexibility to allow only the options your organization needs to use.

[What do I need to do to prepare for this change?]
There are no actions required to receive this update.

If you want more control of this feature in your organization, you will soon have Admin center options to enable and disable cloud storage service settings. This feature is on by default.

Please click Additional Information to learn more.
https://support.office.com/article/Frequently-asked-questions-about-Microsoft-Teams-%E2%80%93-Admin-...

Fair point but really only so far.

 

The article doesn't mention which services will be enabled (so no way to do advanced planning). The article doesn't show how to disable specific (or all) services.  File services are still not listed in the linked FAQ page.

 

Think about this from an end-user standpoint: "Hey, my IT Team says it is okay to use MS Teams. They rolled it out. Oh, look there is a link to Box for storing files. I guess that's an approved service now. Goodie! I love Box and hate SharePoint. I'm going to use Box now for everything!" 

 

Can you imagine the heartburn this is causing with IT, eDiscovery, Legal et. al.?

Contributor

Agree with @Kevin Crossman "rolling out by the end of June" is not sufficient.  Most of us have seen Office 365 rollout timelines shift (Focused Inbox!).

 

I think there should have been a second Message Center post when it was actually rolled out.  I happened to catch it after seeing a Twitter post referencing the Teams Blog post.

Just a suggestion for service improvement.

Tim

Frequent Contributor

@Kady Dundas- Yes - I saw it in the Office Admin portal. Here is the problem:

  1. It was posted June 2.
  2. You have to actively go in there and read things. I try to and did actually see this.
  3. I then had to save it somewhere and create a task to monitor for when this was going to go live so I could disable it. The admin center does not have any "remind me about this article on June 19" or whatever. So I "shared" the message with myself to my OneNote account from the iOS Office 365 admin app, where I normally read these things. (Which, by the way, I have to remember to do because there are no iOS notifications for new messages!) Then I had to go into OneNote later and make an Outlook task out of it to remind me to look for it every 2-3 days, under the assumption I couldn't rely on myself to definitely see the blog post anouncement about it in time.
  4. There was no way to go and immediately turn it off because it hadn't rolled out yet to turn off.

 

So, it is great there is a new feature, great that extensibility of Teams is growing, but no, there is, IMHO, no way it is a good thing that enabiling external file storage services by DEFAULT when a service rolls out is a good thing.

 

Microsoft should not be making lives for admins more difficult by turning things on. This reminds me of when you were about to roll out automatically the auto-creation of groups based on org charts a few months ago. THat would have been a train wreck for me to clean up and thankfully you backed out of it.

This is worse, because at least with the groups thing, nothing would have been put on non-corporate controlled sites. 

I should be able to go on vacation and only deal with critical things that come up at the office. That should not include things invented and rolled out to my company without my permission by Microsoft that can put company data in outside cloud services.

Microsoft

I hear you on this. We didn't do a follow up "it's here" message center post at availability, and I can see how that would have been helpful. Will do that next time and share it as a best practice.

 

Ed - I like that idea to build a 'reminder' feature into the admin portal. @Anne Michels fyi on that.

Occasional Contributor

@Kady Dundas This is a situation where an effective solution might have been to expose the feature administration UI in Admin Center for a period of days or a week before exposing functionality in the client (web/app) UI, thus giving administrators a chance to align enabled user features with organizational needs and requirements before general exposure.

I'm not seeing OneDrive in the list of providers in our tenant. Is there any specific reason why we wouldn't be seeing it? We do see SharePoint. I don't see OneDrive in the admin panel to enable/disable.

Microsoft

@Kevin Crossman OneDrive isn't available just yet but will be coming soon. 

I agree with the sentiment that most have shared on the thread. Although, it is simply connecting to a third party file service that is already being used to store files for the team. By connecting it to a Microsoft Team, we are making it easier for people to store files outside of corporate control. But this feature also caters to those who are already doing so. 

Im in two minds with this.

I'll add, it's timely that this feature is released close to the time EDU gets Microsoft Teams. Is one driver for this feature to enable schools to connect to their Google Drives? Is this a move to bring more schools over from GSuite for Schools?

Occasional Contributor
Good news peeps, there is now a Uservoice item addressing many of the comments on this thread that we can vote for to get Microsoft's attention here: https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/19731805-improve-third-party-f...
Microsoft

Thanks Jim and Ed for your feedback on message center and the roll out experience. Adding @Brian Levenson for his information and to share with the right teams on our side.

Thanks,

Anne

Contributor

@Anne Michels , @Kady Dundas and @Brian Levenson - following up on this communication thread.  Today, the Assignments tab has  appeared in our Teams  client and Teams browser interface.  When I go to create a new Team I get options for Classes, PLC, Staff and Anyone.  I know this is related to the Classroom integration with Teams, but again I did not see anything in the Office 365 Message Center that this was rolling out.

 

Adding Assignments into the Teams interface is confusing for our staff, because we are currently Piloting Teams for Staff only.   There has been no discussion of the  Classroom experience being integrated into Teams.

 

Many of us rely on Message Center and the Message Center Weekly digest to manage change in O365.  It does not seem like the Teams product group is fully on  board with communicating via that very important channel.

 

Tim

Microsoft

Hi Tim - thanks for reaching out. Adding @Raanah Amjadi who worked on this and may have more context.

New Contributor

Is it me, or restricted on purpose, I cant move / copy a file form a linked Google Drive account to a Team.

 

 

As one other here pointed out, one of the key aspects of Teams is that the work product (files being paramount) stays with the Team - not with any disparate storage location tied to one person.  While the other storage providers are very handy for being able to migrate files to Teams (at least on paper), that this does not seem possible is problematic at best.

 

Is anyone else seeing this or...?

Contributor

@Sean Drohan - I was able to both move and copy files from my Google Drive to my Team SharePoint document library in the Teams client.

New Contributor

 @Tim Crean - Ty for the reply but could you perhaps point out what I am doing wrong here?

https://www.screencast.com/t/UFhyOjv0Fnj

 

Its not just me either, anyone in the department I have asked to test it has failed in the same manner.


Contributor

Hi @Sean Drohan

I was able to recreate that "file upload failed" when trying to move another Doc I had in my Google Drive.  But, then I uploaded a new file to Drive and was able to successfully move it from Drive to Teams file storage.  Maybe a bug?

Tim

New Contributor

@Tim Crean

 

Ditto, I too could upload one, and then could copy / move only that one. 

I know this is new but it is soul crushing to think I finally could have walked in to my boss' office and cried 'AH HA! GAME OVER, WE CAN MOVE NOW' 

Sorry, I get caps lock crazy when I talk about this.  It just has so much potential....

Microsoft

@Tim Crean @Sean Drohan Can you use the feedback button on the appbar (down by your profile photo) to send us some more information e.g. what platform you're on etc. Please include logs if you have that option in providing feedback. I'll send this to our engineers and have it investigated asap. Thanks for reaching out, delighted you're using this and helping us improve. 

Contributor

Hi @Marina Lehane,

 

When I click on feedback and choose "report a problem" and then IT Admin as role, it just pops up a browser tab with Office 365 Admin center.  Do you want me to just open a support case with details in the O365 Admin center?

 

I don't see an option for logs.

 

Tim

New Contributor

@Marina Lehane

 

Kk, did so.
I am certain you have heard this 1.34 million times, on a vast array of features, but 'this is crucial if we are to be able to transition to Teams'.
1.34 million +1 now ;)

 

Thank you...

Microsoft

@Tim Crean - please do, so we'll track it. 

 

@Sean Drohan - thank you, will share some updates when I can :)

Contributor

@Marina Lehane - I just opened O365 Support incident # 617062993465541

 

Contributor

@Sean Drohan - I opened case with O365 support.  The file that was giving me the upload failed error seemed to have some type of issue.  I could open it and add/edit the file, but the file would always show a 0 KB file size when File details were viewed in Google Drive.  Do you see similar on any of the files which are failing to upload to Teams storage?

 

Tim

Trusted Contributor

@Anne Michelsthe Azure Admin portal has a What's New icon in the ribbon menu that is quite helpful. Having something similar in the O365 Admin Portal would benefit every admin. 

Microsoft

Hi Dean,

Thanks for the suggestion. We actually used to have a “What’s new” tab in the admin center when we moved to the new admin center about a year ago. After the transition, we retired the page and now, we leverage the message center to communicate new admin features to assure that you can get all service notifications and updates in one place.

Thanks,

Anne

Frequent Contributor

The problem with the message center today Anne is there are no notifications when there are new messages, either on the web or on the iOS platform. Nor on the Windows 10 admin app from the store. You just have to go look for stuff. Then there is no way to "flag for followup" to remind me to review or act on the message when it is closer to a release date.

 

It is like an email app that never tells you you have email.

 

Contributor

@Ed Hansberry - I get the weekly digest emailed to me from the Message Center Preferences.  I find that helpful to stay on top of messages without having to go check the Message center.  It would be nice if Microsoft added an option to receive a daily digest to the Message Center preferences.

Microsoft

Thanks all for your feedback on the message center experience. Adding @Brian Levenson as we're working on several message center improvements right now. Brian can share more.

Frequent Contributor

Interesting @Tim Crean - I just checked and I have that option turned on too. Maybe it is on by default. In any event, I've never received a digest.

"we leverage the message center to communicate new admin features to assure that you can get all service notifications and updates in one place."

 

@Anne Michels  Not trying to beat a dead horse but want to illustrate the sequence and why some of us are so upset. Especially in light of your "we notify you of new admin settings" comment.

 

The File integration was announced in the O365 Message Center on June 2, saying it was coming and turned on by default. But it didn't state what services were included. So, as noted by others, it was a "check message center daily for updates" for the remainder of the month.

 

There was no Message Center on June 22 or June 23 notice saying "this is live tomorrow" or "today" or already turned on. We had to hear about that here, or in following some Twitter accounts. There still hasn't been any notice in the Message Center!!  So the Message Center did not notify us of an extremely imporant new feature and one with a lot of corporate ramifications.