Microsoft announced Tuesday that its Teams Connect shared channels will be generally available through a complete rollout by mid-August.

“Shared channels, rolled out in a public preview this March 2022, and as a result, we saw a range of customers adopting the feature to enable frictionless collaboration within their organizations,” Arun Das, a product manager for Microsoft Teams channel experiences, shares in a blog post. “We are excited to announce that shared channels is moving into general availability.”

Shared channels have been very handy for professionals collaborating with each other, whether they are from the same organization or not. It allows parties to work as one extended team in a channel without switching tenants, making it a useful tool for many teams, from companies collaborating with external partners to multinational and conglomerate companies collaborating. And not only does it allow anyone to communicate with others who don’t belong to the team in which a channel is created, but it also lets everyone literally collaborate through sharing files, holding meetings, securely reviewing documents, and more. Add to that, it allows users access the full suite of Teams collaboration features with external partners in other Azure AD orgs.

“Shared channels are built on the Microsoft 365 hyperscale, enterprise-grade cloud delivering advanced security and compliance capabilities our customers expect,” Das adds. “Shared channels also support a rich set of Information Protection tools for host admins to manage and govern channel data, including eDiscovery, legal hold, communication compliance, information barriers, audit logs, retention, and DLP.”

Aside from its rollout for general availability, shared channels are also getting some improvements. It includes the capacity increase from 50 to 200 (200 standard, 30 private, and 200 shared channels per team), some messaging functionality support for external users (e.g., GIFs and emojis), access to enhanced reporting for external users for admins, mobile apps support, and the ability for app developers to build apps for shared channels. Additionally, security defaults will start supporting B2B direct connect users, which means with the security defaults enabled, multi-factor authentication will be applied for external users.

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