Microsoft Tech Community Live: Surface Edition
Feb 15 2022, 08:00 AM - 12:00 PM (PST)
SOLVED

Whiteboard app - storage and sharing

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Frequent Contributor

What is up with the Whiteboard app, why is it not storing the whiteboards in OneDrive or SharePoint so it is automatically stored in the region where the whole Office 365 tenant is hosted and can leverage the same access controls?

 

Also having anonymous access to Whiteboards only is a big security gap if you ask me. I would like to share whiteboards with my colleagues only, not with the whole world...

 

20 Replies
best response confirmed by Cezar Cretu (Microsoft)
Solution
Hi Joost

Not entirely sure of exactly what you're describing.

The current Whiteboard app (that comes with Surface Hub) stores whiteboard data in the user's OneDrive for Business storage. As such it's subject to any tenant region storage controls.

The Whiteboard Preview app that is available from the Store saved the app data in Azure linked to your tenant. Currently the data is stored in the United States, but will expand to other regions when the app goes into production. You can read more about this here: https://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-whiteboard/digital-whiteboard-app

As far as I can tell there is no anonymous access to Whiteboards.

D

Hi @Daniel Hudson,

 

Thank you for the response. It seems kind of strange that there are 2 whiteboard apps that use different storage options, where one only stores data in the US. Hopefully Microsoft will fix this.

 

Also when I wanted to share a whiteboard, I was expecting to define who could access the whiteboard, but instead all I got was a URL to share with somebody. The url is not behind authentication, so anyone with the URL can access the whiteboard.

 

Best regards,

Joost

Hi Joost

There is nothing to be fixed in regard to the apps. There is the current Whiteboard app which ships on Surface Hub, and there is the Whiteboard (Preview) app that is available from the Microsoft Store for Windows 10 devices.

The Whiteboard app on Surface Hub stores shared whiteboards in the user's OneDrive folder (and as such OneDrive is a pre-requisite for using shared whiteboards). The Whiteboard URL only works for other Surface Hubs within the same organisation. You cannot share them externally and it will not work on any other device.

The Whiteboard (Preview) app stores whiteboard data in Azure and linked to the Office 365 tenant. As the name suggests, the app is still in preview (though we have now been given notice in Office 365 that GA is expected within the next couple of months). While data during the preview is only stored in the US, I would imagine that Microsoft will support data storage in other data centres when it goes into GA, especially due to GDPR and other requirements.

Thanks
Dan

Microsoft has made improvements to the collaboration experience, such as inviting specific users and the ability to revoke access to boards for all users or individual users. That takes away my concern about the sharing aspect.

 

I am still trying to figure out if data storage has also moved to the region the Office 365 tenant is located in.

Were you able to find mention where the data atm is located?

From my understanding, data for the Whiteboard app is stored in US data centres at this time. There is a uservoice request to enable EU data centres for Whiteboard that you can vote on here: https://whiteboard.uservoice.com/forums/915919-whiteboard-for-windows-10/suggestions/36559069-expand...

@Pekka Karppinen Quick update, saw this in the Message Centre today:

 

MC175885
Stay Informed
Published On : 15 March 2019

We're making several changes to Microsoft Whiteboard that will roll out over the next 3-4 months.

 

  1. For all organizations with Whiteboard - Microsoft Whiteboard will appear as an available product in Office 365 and the service principal will be added to appropriate tenants that have Whiteboard enabled.
  2. For all Office 365 tenants with Whiteboard located in Europe - Microsoft Whiteboard will automatically store whiteboard content in datacenters in that region.
  3. For all organizations with Surface Hubs – If you manage Surface Hubs, the legacy 2016 application of Whiteboard will be upgraded to the latest version and the legacy version will no longer receive updates.

Finally good news on this topic! Here is a fresh update from Microsoft:

For all Office 365 tenants with Whiteboard located in Europe

Microsoft Whiteboard now automatically stores all whiteboard content in a regional datacenter for customers located in Europe, for all content created as of June 4, 2019. Previously created whiteboards will be migrated over the next few months. No action is required.

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/important-updates-to-microsoft-whiteboard-66f02bc5-556c-4dc...

While it is good that they are storing it in region the privicy aspect is still not solved.

 

Until it is I am being forced to remove it from all our meeting rooms. Very sad as it is a great tool but if you cannot control the data it is useless. 

 

 

@Joost Koopmans  When will be extended to Canada?  

@Daniel Hudson 

 

I did not find any information on where the Whiteboard files are stored, named or structured. Where and how are those objects stored?

The concept of files, folders, ownership, sharing, copying, deleting,... is well accepted and used. Actually I find it very useful. Can this concept be used for whiteboard objects as well? 

 

Thanks, Thomas

Hi Thomas. While the concept of files etc. is 'well accepted and used', this does not mean that's the best method for all apps.

Whiteboard has taken a modern app approach, and the physical files are not accessible in a 'traditional' sense. You must access the Whiteboards from within the app, and they can be shared using the built in sharing features.

Files are stored on Azure within your tenant. Naming and structure are not important as Microsoft handles this to work across the organisation.

@Daniel Hudson 

My colleagues would like to continue our discussion if I'm away for any reasons. How to do that? We did that by storing other "whiteboards" in a folder of TFS, Git, etc. If Microsft Whiteboard document can be shared via Office 365 why not to share via Git, SVN, Google Drive, whatever else of my choose? Anyway, there is a file somewhere :)

@Daniel Hudson

 

Everyone values different things. The ability to handle whiteboard documents like traditional files (ie with names and controllable storage paths and assignable permissions) would be of immense value to my organization. We have security concerns about cloud storage, but we find the whiteboards tool very useful during teleconference on technical matters. The two biggest issues are that the whiteboards don't have names (or even dates) and that we have to be cautious about what information ends up on the whiteboard since we cannot control the storage of the document (ITAR compliance concerns).

 

For those reasons we are steering away from Microsoft whiteboard to try other free form collaborative drawing tools.

@Daniel Hudson 

 

Hi Dan,

Thanks for your response.  You mentioned:

"The Whiteboard URL only works for other Surface Hubs within the same organisation. You cannot share them externally and it will not work on any other device."

Is this due to security?  At times, I find it useful communicating outside my immediate team and it would be useful to share a Whiteboard externally.  Do you know if this is a potential future feature? or is the design intended only for sharing within the same organization.

Thanks, 

Sy

@SyTruong @Daniel Hudson 

 

At this time of Covid, remote working and the ability to give my client the "pen" to use on a brainstorming, MS whiteboard session is really valuable. It would be a pity if another vendor came up with this feature in their product.

Hi
Where is whiteboard for Windows 10 content stored

@Daniel Hudson where exactly are those files stored? Is there a history of versions available? Someone just cleared canvas for a whole whiteboard (No idea who in the large team who had access to it) and I don't know how to restore it. Many thanks!

@Daniel Hudson Would you care to share the reasoning behind this limitation ? It is awefully restrictive (no copying, versionning, folders, impossible to put with related files...) and seems like small effort large value to implement.