Configure custom policies in Skype for Business Online and Microsoft Teams

Christian Burke (Enterprise Program Manager, Skype CxD, Microsoft) & Martin Rinas (Sr Program Manager, Microsoft) delivered a session to help us understand custom policies in detail. During this presentation, they talked about both hybrid and online-only scenarios detailing the key attributes that affect the user experience. They also talked about how you can apply extensive Skype for Business Online and Teams engineering team field experience to your environment.




During the session, Christian & Martin talked about four major aspect of configuring policies in office 365;

  • Defining & implementing the custom policies
  • Making SfB Online policies available to Microsoft Teams
  • Additional policies available for Microsoft Teams
  • Real time business use cases and related benefits

Defining & implementing the custom policies

By default, O365 tenant has pre-defined set of policies. These policies are by default assigned during user creation depending on switches being used. Office 365 admin portal has subset of settings that covers majority of customer scenarios. But, what if your organization requires to control the settings at more granular level?


Custom policies have been recently (Q1, 2017) added to office 365. It allows you to control more specific features & functionalities that are available to end users. Custom policies allow you to tune Skype for business online experience to suit user habits and behaviour, regional restrictions, legal requirements, labour requirements etc. Some of the use cases to customize user experiences could be; preventing users in certain a business unit from using File Transfer or creating Polls.


It’s important to note that custom policies are available only via remote PowerShell.  Creating custom policies requires you to properly understand the business requirements & define the use cases. A better definition of use cases would allow you to create efficient scripts and apply them for existing users based on specific criteria identified during planning. You can establish an operational process to apply these settings\policies to end users.


It's strongly suggested to review pre-defined policies before you decide to create custom ones. An additional policy without or with less relevance would be an overhead to your operation team. Also, the presenters stressed on the requirement of defining the business use cases using core SOF principals to increase efficiency of the process.


Custom Policies for Microsoft Teams

Great to know that the Microsoft Teams will honour existing SfBO PSTN Conferencing & Calling Plans per-user settings. Microsoft plans to release more User-level policies and particularly, Microsoft Teams specific policies. It is important to note that Microsoft Teams will support full customization of all exposed settings.


Teams upcoming policies will help your organization to configure call controls and PSTN settings at more granular levels.


Deploying & Applying Custom Policies - An Example


Skip this section if you are not a powershell expert. :) 




Custom Policies – An Example Use Case


Let's look at the "Rate-My-Call" UI with defaul settings.




Now, let's look at the transformed "Rate-My-Call" UI with the help of custom policies. Result is evident of the way and scale custom policies makes a difference. 




Custom Policies - Tips & Tricks

  • It takes approximately .8 sec for a single command line to complete
  • Remote PowerShell commands between .6 and .8 sec to execute
  • You can run up to 4 remote PowerShell Sessions per single account
  • It takes 15-30 min for policy to become effective (check uccapi log) – or sign out & in
  • You can’t rename the policies
  • You can’t alter some of the parameters at all
  • After creation you can’t alter some parameters like IPAudio, IPVideo, etc.
  • Policy allows you to block P2P File Transfers with federated partners
  • Requires up to date Windows C2R client
  • Check that machine you are running at has enough RAM

Useful references 


Blog - Custom Policies for Skype for Business Online

Blog - Custom Policies in Skype for Business Online

Blog - Update on Custom Policies in Skype for Business


Goes without saying that custom policies would help organizations to configure better personal experiences for end users. Thus, enabling organizations to meet business requirements more effectively. I would be glad to hear your observations\feedbacks\comments if any. You can follow me on Twitter or you can visit my LinkedIn profile to connect.


1 Comment

Hi, is the up-to-date Windows C2R client a requirement for the SfB client to respect the policies?   With an up-to-date msi installation also work, or it needs to be C2R?