Microsoft Teams gets better search, and an encrypted 'lockbox' to protect your data

These are the big updates to Microsoft Teams over the last month.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft has rolled out improved search features to Teams and a new customer "lockbox" that lets users control who has access to content. 

The roughly 270 million people who frequently use Teams should notice a difference in the results when they search for things. There should be less clutter, better context in summary results, and more filters to choose from to find files, content and people across Microsoft's services, from OneDrive to Word.

Search isn't what Microsoft's is famous for, but the company has been trying to improve it in Windows 11 as forges the operating system into a more consumer-friendly product. It's also trying to make feature-heavy Teams more palatable for consumers though Windows 11 Teams chat integrations

This month Microsoft also rolled out a new customer "lockbox" for Teams that lets users control when others can access their content to do things on the platform. Microsoft has has the lockbox concept for Office 365 customers for several years, which helps customers ensure that even Microsoft support engineers can't access the content of customers' communications on Microsoft services. 

A Microsoft support page for Customer Lockbox says it supports others' requests to access data a user's in Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Teams. The recently updated page suggests Microsoft has implemented end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for these services. Microsoft in December rolled out E2EE for customers on one-to-one Teams calls.

"Customer Lockbox ensures that Microsoft can't access your content to do service operations without your explicit approval. Customer Lockbox brings you into the approval workflow process that Microsoft uses to ensure only authorized requests allow access to your content," Microsoft states.    

The lockbox covers content in email, Sharepoint, Skype for Business, instant messages and voice conversations, all text in Teams including person-to-person chats, group chats, shared channels, private channels, and meeting chats, videos, apps and bot data in Teams chats and channels, Teams activity feeds, SQL container data, and customer generated content.   

On the list of Microsoft Teams updates throughout March, Microsoft also highlights that Teams meetings also gained a feature that helps organizers automatically send invites to meetings via calendars, as well as domain customization, and the ability for for users to see scheduled meetings on the Teams iOS and Android app.    

iPhone users can now answer incoming meeting nudges or invites when their video is on. It's useful for the healthcare workers who may need to attend a virtual meeting, according to Microsoft.

Live captions are available for Teams users on Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365 on virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) .

Storage pain for admins from Teams meetings is also getting attention thanks to Microsoft's new automatic expiration policy . 

Admins can disable auto-expiration but it is on by default. All new recordings automatically expire 60 days after they are recorded if no action is taken, Microsoft previously explained.

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