Teams Real Simple with Pictures: Using the TAC to manage users backgrounds in Teams Meetings

A real short one this week - for two reasons. The first is that I am on annual leave - and whilst annual leave may conjure up the romantic idea of taking a break, this is when I usually crack on with the long list of things which I need take care of at home. This Easter weekend has included completing a 6 x 8 concreate base for a shed, and putting up a large trampoline in the back yard for my son. Secondly, I was all up for writing an in depth blog for Viva Connections - and I started doing that until I realised that the SharePoint app bar hasn't surfaced in my demo tenant yet. I decided I didn't want to push something out that I wouldn't be ultimately happy with. So in the meantime I was searching for something to write about when I saw that the ability to control meeting backgrounds has now come to the TAC. For some time this has only been available in PowerShell - and whilst this blog will literally be up there with the shortest I have ever written, the functionality is really important to consider for all organisations. Why? You see when custom backgrounds were first released there were a lot of people on social racing to advocate how these could be back doored on windows machines. And whilst I agree they were great for identity and personalisation, and great for marketing and buy-in in regards to adoption, I also agree they can be problematic for IT admins. How can they be policed? How could you stop someone in your organisation uploading something offensive as a background? Whilst I hope you haven't seen anything offensive I personally have. I've seen someone outside my organisation using a hospital ward as a background because they thought it was funny to do so during lockdown. I've seen another - again outside my organisation - using politicised images which aren't appropriate nor professional for any type of meeting. Where have they got those images from? Are they commons or are they copyrighted? So we need to make a call, especially as Microsoft Teams does not screen backgrounds which are uploaded by users. Surfacing these in the TAC is good in that it brings attention to these controls, but also helps admins which, let's face it, don't like PowerShell or don't read Docs all too often. Every IT admin now has the ability to easily control backgrounds based on the tools they like to use