April 16, 2020

Direct Voice Routing for Microsoft Teams using TeamsHub by Cyclotron

In this article, we explore automating Voice Routing features using TeamsHub by Cyclotron

Introduction

Microsoft Teams is an intelligent communication system that provides a flawless collaboration and immersive engagement experience of hi-def audio and video, calls, chat, screen-share and much more. Workgroup collaboration on projects, sharing ideas via conference meetings and delivering global live events became easier than ever. Thus, in a very short time, Microsoft Teams grew popular. Undoubtedly, Microsoft Teams is the next-gen collaboration suite that smart business leaders of today want to invest in.  

Microsoft Teams handles voice in two different ways using Microsoft Phone Systems/ 

  1. Calling Plans 
  2. Direct Routing  

Specific countries limit Microsoft Calling Plans. Therefore, configure a user’s existing phone infrastructure using Direct Voice Routing. Direct Voice Routing is one of the most important features in Microsoft Teams. It also incurs lower line costs than Microsoft’s Calling Plans.  

Direct Voice Routing

Overview

Direct Voice Routing requires Session Border Controller (SBCs) for Microsoft Teams. This enables connection to a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Firstly, you need to configure SBC as recommended by a certified SBC vendor. Secondly, connect it with Microsoft Phone System and enable direct routing and configure voice routing. Finally, translate numbers into an alternate format. Voice routing policy is a container that holds all routing elements such as PSTN Gateways, PSTN Usages, Dial Plans and Voice Routes in it. The ordering of PSTN Usages and Voice Routes is critical for sending calls in order to specific PSTN Gateways. In summary, Voice Routing Policy determines how a call is routed for that user. 

Using TeamsHub by Cyclotron

Setting up voice features for Microsoft Teams requires in-depth knowledge of complex PowerShell commands along with rigorous experience in Skype. A user-friendly interface for creating, testing and troubleshooting Direct Routing configuration reduces the utility gap, making it simple and efficient.

Let us look at some of the features that make the administrator’s job simple and easy. 

1. PSTN Gateway 

PSTN gateway enables phone and media connection between two different types of networks. Configure all protocol related settings here including information to be sent to physically deployed SBCs in the PSTN gateway. This is to add SBC as a PSTN gateway and includes the following parameters shown below

Direct Voice Routing - PSTN Gateway

Additionally, set values as shown below

Direct Voice Routing - PSTN Values

2. PSTN Usage 

PSTN usage has multiple voice associated routes to send calls to various regions.  Assign PSTN usage, different voice routing policies. PSTN usage finds a matching rule related to call permissions when user dials a number to a particular site. 

Direct Voice Routing - PSTN Usage

The field Usage Name is a text pertaining to a geographical location, for example –  US, US and Canada, International, etc.

3. Dial Plans 

Call authorization and call routing need dial plans, a set of normalization rules to translate dialed numbers to an alternate format. Different dial plans interpret the same string of numbers differently. Based on this interpretation, numbers are translated and routed. The dial plan follows a descriptive naming convention to identify assigned users. 

Create and manage a new dial plan simply by filling in the values in the given parameters using TeamsHub by Cyclotron.

  • Dial Plan Name: Global/NR2 
Direct Voice Routing - Dial Plans

4. Voice Routes 

In TeamsHub by Cyclotron, creating a voice route can be followed with simple steps. A descriptive route name can be given to the Name field. Then, Number Pattern is a regular expression to match. Once matched, it sends the call to the defined SBC(s). You can then select FQDN, the domain name for your SBC and PSTN Usage. 

For example, the values for these parameters can be set as: 

  • Name: Route1 
  • Number Pattern: [0-9]{10} 
  • FQDN: sbc.contoso.com 
  • PSTN Usage: US & Canada 
Direct Voice Routing - Voice Routes

5. Voice Routing Policy 

Using PSTN Usage(s) and their defined Voice Route(s), you can easily create Voice Routing Policy with TeamsHub by Cyclotron. 

For example, the values in the given parameters can be set as: 

  • Name: Policy1 
  • PSTN Usage: US and Canada
Direct Voice Routing - Voice Routing Policy

6. Assign Voice Routing Policy 

Assigning a Voice Routing Policy is once again pretty straight forward. In TeamsHub by Cyclotron, simply select a Voice Routing Policy and username from Select People. 

So, when a user makes a call, based the Voice Routing Policy, a list of PSTN Usage(s) is returned. The Voice Routes linked with the PSTN Usages are verified to check if the number matches. If so, then the call is sent to the SBC(s) in the route with the highest priority. However, if call cannot be routed through the SBC for whatever reasons, the remaining matching routes are used. 

Direct Voice Routing -  Assign Voice Route Policy

Thankfully, TeamsHub by Cyclotron makes voice configuration hassle-free for administrators. 

Summary 

When teams grow in large organizations, trying to work collaboratively in a fusion of several communication tools is neither practicable nor productive. It’s time to renounce old communication platforms and welcome a sleek, modern and efficient collaboration suite like TeamsHub by Cyclotron to provide you scalability and happier workforce.  

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April 07, 2020

Microsoft Teams for US Government and DoD

Microsoft announces rapid enablement of Teams for US government entities
Microsoft Teams for US government an DoD

As you may have noted, Microsoft recently announced the rapid deployment and enablement of Microsoft Teams for the US government and DoD. This was in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which has resulted in both a health and economic crisis. You can find the full article here.

Microsoft has released a Teams Guide for Rapid Enablement in GCC, GCCH & DoD. You can also access this via the link –  https://aka.ms/TeamsGovFastPath

You can find a webinar released by Microsoft on Youtube via the link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI4s3LE9lEY

If you are a government entity and would like to leverage Microsoft Teams Cyclotron has offerings to meet your needs. We also cater to regulated industries such as Financial Services and Banking as well as Healthcare and Lifescience organizations.

Additionally, we automate Microsoft Teams’ governance and engage users with our flagship product – TeamsHub by Cyclotron.

TeamsHub by Cyclotron is a unified platform that simplifies, automates and streamlines governance. Also, with employee engagement features we provide a rich set of features along with governance. Furthermore, you can find more information in our blog articles.

Finally, to know more about TeamsHub by Cyclotron please contact – sales@cyclotrongroup.com. We are totally committed to keeping our country safe and working 24X7. #MAGA. We look forward to hearing from you.

About Cyclotron

Cyclotron was proudly founded in San Francisco in 2014 with the sole intent of accelerating the success of our clients. We solve mission-critical business and technology challenges, through a proven network of industry-specific frameworks. We’re a trusted strategic partner to many innovative organizations in the financial, health and life sciences, public, retail, and technology sectors. Our solutions combined with your investment with us boost productivity, enhances collaboration, and integrates intelligence across your entire enterprise.

Read more

April 07, 2020

Automated Lifecycle Management for Teams

This article explores how Teams lifecycle governance can be automated and managed using TeamsHub from Cyclotron

Introduction

Firstly, organizations and administrators should focus on three main aspects of the automated lifecycle management of Microsoft Teams to streamline governance.

  • Provisioning: Teams request, approval, and creation
  • Operations: Managing information access and containers
  • Information Lifecycle: Retain, expire and disposal of Teams

With this intention in mind, TeamsHub by Cyclotron provides automated lifecycle management. This eliminates tons of manual provisioning issues. Secondly, any administrator surely wants streamlined governance which includes

  • Avoiding teams or sites sprawl and duplication.
  • Avoiding Teams without owners or orphaned Teams
  • Deploying a consistent architecture for the tenant environment
  • Define naming policies for Teams based on custom attributes
  • Assigning correct roles and responsibilities to each Team member
  • Organize frequently used Teams together as “Hubs”
  • Providing an automated workflow for team site creation and approval
  • Implementing enhanced security controls

Now let us look at some of the scenarios below to automate the lifecycle management of Microsoft Teams using TeamsHub by Cyclotron.

Automate creating a new team or site

The lifecycle starts with creating a Team. So, an administrator can enable Site and Team creation, whereby users can request a Team or SharePoint Site and choose to make it either Public or Private. Users can search Teams marked Public easily and the user is free to join that team. Owners control access to Private Teams. A point to note – build a Team from scratch or by using an existing template.

In either case, TeamsHub by Cyclotron grabs essential details popping up a quick request form for the user to fill out. Along with defaults such as Title and Description, the request form also asks some additional metadata which can be specified by the administrator in the site provisioning settings.

On submission, the request goes for an administrator’s approval.

Automate site creation in Microsoft Teams by TeamsHub by Cyclotron

We take this a step further using governance automation which is described below.

Automate site provisioning

A key feature of TeamsHub by Cyclotron which allows

  • Self-service provisioning of Teams while managing approvals based on business processes through dynamic forms and external workflows.
  • Creating or restricting the creation of Teams to specific groups.
  • It also makes guest management and policy management easy along with refraining users to use certain keywords while naming their Teams.
Microsoft Teams - Automated Site Provisioning Settings by TeamsHub by Cyclotron
Teams Governance Settings

Automate classifying and tagging Teams

Easily create text-based classifications for Teams such as internal, personal, business, important, etc., depending upon their unique identity, strength or structure. A second level categorization of Teams is also available based on role, project or skill. Apply another tagging dimension to Teams to classify them by expertise or departments such as IT, marketing, product, sales, etc.

Unified tagging and classification expedite discoverability, as well as easing navigation.

Governance Automation for classification and tagging by TeamsHub by Cyclotron

Searching Teams

TeamsHub by Cyclotron, lets you find Teams by three search parameters viz. name, tags, classification. Additionally, we provide advanced search capabilities using Team name, visibility (Public or Private), members/owner, tag and classification to help administrators narrow down quickly to the desired information. Store this search result further or save it as a Hub based on organizational needs.

Automate Governance using Advanced Search by TeamsHub by Cyclotron

Manage Team owners and members

Add new participants as owners or members to the selected Team in the search. Also, existing owners or members can be deleted from the Team. Moreover, with a user-friendly interface and convenient tile-view, the roles of owners or members can be swapped without hassle or complex scripting.

Microsoft Team Settings using Automated Governance from TeamsHub by Cyclotron
Team Details

Automate expiration policy for inactive Teams

After serving their purpose, many Teams tend to be inactive after the end of a project, initiative or for any other reason. To avoid Team sprawl and have active content as well as usage, TeamsHub by Cyclotron provides the auto archival of Teams by setting an expiration policy.

An expiration policy triggers a crawl through the database to uncover Teams that cross the inactivity threshold. This crawler seeks the last activity generated by users of that particular team. This is closely related to the Daily Activity Usage as defined by Microsoft. Some of the criteria include chats, and conversations, emails being sent, and files shared within a Team or group.

Expiration Policies

A few policies can be set to ensure no Team is deleted by accident

  • Owner Policy: A set of rules that require owners to review and determine the next course of action. TeamsHub by Cyclotron sends periodic notifications ( in days) to Team owners to review the Teams they own. Actions that an owner might take are – deleting a member of the Team or deleting the entire Team if it has already served its purpose. Owners can revoke access for important files or documents that are shared within the Team or externally. Flexibility to modify the review deadline as per their choice.
  • Inactive Team Policy: Notify Team owners by email if no activity is detected in the specified time period. The email contents can be structured and customized as per needs. The owner can then decide based on the response, whether to mark a Team inactive.
  • Archive Team Policy: Send email notifications to inactive teams. The automatic email notification contains the Team name, description, members list, and last date of an activity. Additionally, it provides a link to archive it with a confirmation. If owner fails to act, Team is archived automatically after sending a few reminders.
  • Team Deletion Policy: Similar to Archive Team Policy, except that if the owner of the Team fails to take any action, TeamsHub by Cyclotron doesn’t delete the Team automatically.
Automated Lifecycle management of Teams from TeamsHub by Cyclotron

Summary

So in summary, we can manage Microsoft Teams better and experience easy and convenient lifecycle management. TeamsHub by Cyclotron enables you to work with clean, accurate and relevant information at all times saving you from inadvertent and costly mistakes while ensuring that you share updated content always. We promise you an effortless and happy administration and streamlined governance!

Suggested Reading

About Cyclotron

Cyclotron was proudly founded in San Francisco in 2014 with the sole intent of accelerating the success of our clients by solving mission-critical business and technology challenges, through a proven network of industry-specific frameworks. We’re a trusted strategic partner to many innovative organizations in the financial, health and life sciences, public, retail, and technology sectors. Our solutions combined with your investment with us boosts productivity, enhances collaboration, and integrates intelligence across your entire enterprise.

Read more

Read more

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