Teams Real Simple with Pictures: Disabling Third Party Together Mode Scenes

Written: 26/06/2022 | Updated: N/A

It was a while back where I wrote about Freehand by Invision and the ability to disable it and not show within Teams Meetings. Here I am a year later. Same subject. Same reasons. I was doing some testing tonight and I have seen that a.) Microsoft have now packaged their Together Mode Scenes into an app called Microsoft Scenes and b.) There are Together Mode Scenes which are now being added by Third Parties within your Teams Meeting. So, for the record – and as I said about InVision I haven’t got anything personal against these companies. As the expression goes I don’t know them from Adam. However, putting third party content into Microsoft Meetings is a headache for admins. Why? Because by their own compliance rules the org may only permit using Microsoft Applications. In addition, users may go on to install the app for a third party. The real headache comes if users end up disclosing data to a third party or putting data in a third party data centre in a country where it is not permitted to do so. Now, it all sounds a bit melodramatic right? Right up until we consider the principle of zero trust and we assume that will happen and it will get there unless we turn it off. Don’t be surprised after using that Together Mode Scene that you and your colleagues start getting marketed to for that paid subscription

Let’s go

This blog will cover

  • The issue
  • Blocking the third party scenes for all users
  • Blocking the third party scenes for some users
  • How can I see if users have installed the third party apps?
  • Blocking Microsoft Scenes
  • What to do next

NOTE: This blog may have abridged steps and will assume some familiarity with Microsoft 365 and Teams

Pre-requisites

  • Teams Administrator or Global Administrator permissions
  • Recommended Teams Licence (within an Office 365/Microsoft 365 Licence) to test

THE ISSUE

1.) When you are in a Teams meeting, select the View Switcher at the top left, and then Together Mode

2.) Scroll to the bottom of the scenes and you will see third party scenes

3.) These are provided by the apps Breakthru and Natterhub Classroom

4.) By using the Together mode scene you agree to the third parties Terms of Use. If you select Apply then the app is required to be added

5.) Now let’s look at what permissions you give one of those apps if you add that Together Mode Scene. It includes your profile information, channel list and roster including team members names and email addresses and – this is absolutely brazen – the third party will use this to contact them. In other words, by adding a Together Mode Scene you are giving permission for a third party to market every user in your Team.

BLOCKING THE THIRD PARTY SCENES FOR ALL USERS

This is to configure meetings not to display Breakthru or Natterhub Classroom scenes in any meeting for any user within the organisation. This action will also disable the app and so it cannot be used in any context by anyone – in meetings, or in channels when collaborating. This will likely be the required action for organisations who want to stick to Microsoft Scenes and their own

1.) Login to https://login.microsoftonline.com with admin credentials

2.) From the left navigation, or app launcher, select Admin

3.) In the Microsoft 365 Admin Centre, from the left navigation select Show All then Teams

4.) In the Teams Admin Centre, from the left navigation select Teams Apps then Manage Apps

5.) Search for and highlight Breakthru and then select Block

6.) Select Block

7.) The app is now blocked. Rinse and repeat for Natterhub Classroom

8.) In the App Store the apps will now need approval

9.) And no more Third Party Together Mode Scenes 😀

BLOCKING THE THIRD PARTY SCENES FOR SOME USERS

1.) In this case – if you only want to bar specific users or a proportion of the organisation from using the scenes and the apps, use an app permissions policy and apply it to the required users. As shown below this policy blocks specific apps and allows all others. Both Breakthru and Natterhub are under Third Party Apps in the Teams Admin Centre.

HOW CAN I SEE THAT USERS HAVE INSTALLED THESE APPS?

1.) If you are being reactive and think that users may have gone on to install the apps from use of the Together Mode Scenes, you can look in the Teams Admin Centre, select Analytics and Reports and then Usage Reports. This will turn up under the Apps Usage Report

BLOCKING MICROSOFT SCENES

1.) We could go the whole hog and remove all Together Mode Scenes and then essentially use our own as determined by our own organisation. In this case, in addition to Breakthru and Natterhub Classroom you would also block Microsoft Scenes in the Teams Admin Centre via Manage Apps

2.) The only scene which would be available is the default one. Note you can still create your own.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

If you think that your users have installed third party apps you will want to review with them if that has involved creating user accounts with the third party. If it has, you can look to close them down, typically via the app, or contacting the third parties support. You may also wish to contact the third party with a Data Subject Request (DSR) to discover what information the third party has in order to remove it

Breakthru: info@breakthru.me
Breakthru Teams and Conditions: https://breakthru.me/terms
Breakthru Privacy Policy: https://breakthru.me/privacy

Natterhub: info@natterhub.com
Natterhub Terms and Conditions: https://natterhub.com/legal
Natterhub Privacy Policy: https://natterhub.com/legal#privacy

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