back to article Admins sigh as Microsoft pushes Teams changes – let everyone play!

Microsoft has been alerting admins today to changes to its Microsoft Teams Exploratory "experience", which effectively allow users to sign up for a trial rather than requiring admins to grant the privileges. A Message Center post explained that the MS Teams Commercial Cloud Trial is being replaced with "MS Teams Exploratory …

  1. nematoad Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Money is the root of all evil.

    "...there is a strong temptation for software providers to boost user numbers by making the process easier."

    Or in other words "Our needs are greater than your needs. Sod the security of your system, we must have more money." That's certainly one way to make friends and influence people.

    And I don't mean in a positive way!

    1. teamonster

      Re: Money is the root of all evil.

      No, not money itself, but the marketing drones and bean counters are the root of all evil. The minute in a tech company that you put one of them into a position of power, rather than an engineering bod, you are asking for trouble. I've seen it time and time again.

    2. gerdesj Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Money is the root of all evil.

      The love of money is the root of all evil.

  2. JohnFen Silver badge

    At what point?

    At what point will it become such a headache for IT departments to keep on top of disabling this nonsense that they'll start energetically advocating to stop using this stuff?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: At what point?

      And it becomes more and more difficult to advocate away from it when users have built a hodge-podge of company essential apps and groups that they just can't do without.

      Jumping off the train as it gathers more momentum becomes more difficult.

      It's is such a shame - Microsoft backend/admin products used to care somewhat about the IT dept and their admins. Now they are actively working to get users to proactively bypass security and force shadow IT through. They have decided that the ICT department is no longer their customer, the end user is.

      What they forget is that it will be the higher echelons of the ICT dept who make the strategic bying decisions - such as whether to use Azure, AWS or Google for their compute and VM instances. This is where to hit Microsoft where it hurts as the end users will rarely care about their cloud provider, and it's easyish to move virtual machines.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: At what point?

        "strategic bying decisions"

        A possibly prophetic typo?

  3. chivo243 Silver badge

    When we were kings...

    The days of iron-clad admin control over the minutiae of every application and device in use on an organisation's network are mostly over.

    Quite honestly, crap devices and shoddy services on the web have become the toilet paper on our shoes. I once saw a user uploading photos to some crap site, and asked if they read the EULA or the T's&C's? Their response was what are terms and conditions? I guess it was never their data anyway.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: When we were kings...

      Crap devices and shoddy security practices are very common, and are why I don't allow most people to connect to my home network -- guests get to use the isolated guest AP that gives internet access only.

      1. cookieMonster
        Pint

        Re: When we were kings...

        I have the exact same setup..

        1. whitepines Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: When we were kings...

          Me too. And it's a captive portal with click through T&Cs too, so some personal responsibility (including responsibility for connecting virus infested crap) is legally enforceable if needed.

      2. quxinot Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: When we were kings...

        Glad I'm not alone in that.

        And only once did someone complain by comparing me to a 1930's dictator! They still didn't get access, of course. Figured I'd play the part. :)

      3. teamonster

        Re: When we were kings...

        Don't forget "Password" passwords by numpty users. Also, widely disseminated, admin passwords that most users never change, so wind up being ajar doorways to your network.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    User self-service to use tools may be scary, but this is how the company I work at ended up down this terrible path of paying Slack ransom money for our chat history instead of using what would just be included in the Office 365 subs we already have to this day.

    So Microsoft is just allowing users to not be shackled by their own IT. (And yet still allowing IT to prevent this as well) And this is viewpoint is bright to you by a former IT admin.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Equally you have the problem where, in services like GSuite, they disable Hangout chat history by default. And when pointing out to management "Surely we need to turn that on otherwise people within the company could use it to bully others with no record." The response was no we'll leave it off for now. Cue several months later and there was "We need the hangout chat logs of two members of staff. Can you please provide them to HR" with a big smile on our face we said "No, cause you told us to not turn on the chat history" :)

    2. teamonster

      It is IT's job to shackle users. At the end of the day, IT will be on the hook to support whatever some middle manager has decided is a great idea (surprise - not, it probably isn't a great idea). Also, it will be IT that will be blamed for "Why did you allow this department to spend X per seat on this software?".

      1. Lusty

        No, IT are on the hook for services they provide withint the SLAs agreed with the business. Everything else is out of scope. If you don't feel able to push back on things you don't support you either need to leave or get better at interacting with the business. It's not IT's job to shackle the business. It's not even IT on the hook for compliance, it's the business. In my experience the professionals within a business outside of IT are more attuned to compliance than IT are. It's rare to even find an IT person who's read the regulation docs, let alone understand them. Usually IT just block everything, store everything and hope; usually becoming non-compliant in the process. The number of 7 year backup retention regimes I've seen pointlessly implemented and costing millions unnecessarily is astounding.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Ho Ho Ho

          Your response made me fall off my chair. The reality of the situation is that at some point a 'clever' millennium in the CEO''s office will develop a dash board / report or appointments system which becomes 'mission critical' when it all falls over in a heap ICT will have no option but to adopt it and fix it at short notice. I've lost count of the number of times I've had to do this.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I certainly agree that it is IT's job to unshackle the business, but in my experience the "store everything and hope" policy is mandated by the business refusing to define requirements or categorise data.

  5. devTrail

    Anti-trust

    As usual Microsoft is exploiting the position they have in one sector to push the business of the other sector. By controlling the OS they can decide in any moment to open a breach that could encourage some employees to naively hand them some of their company data.

  6. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    He said: "Off by default would be the preference, or even better if they just didn't bother at all! TBH, it's offensive that they've shown such disregard for the role of admins who are supposed to be responsible for the proper management and protection of systems and the data they contain. Giving end users this kind of power is asking for trouble."

    And there's your perfect example of "butt-hurt buggy-whip maker", right there.

    Dear Admins.

    You are janitors. Stop pretending that you are architects.

    Love

    The people who pay your wages.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      No, they're building maintenance.

      And last time I checked, no company in the entire world allows all their staff to build corner offices for themselves, or to knock out walls because they want a better view.

      Try it sometime, see how quickly you're arrested.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      So who's in charge of managing data protection? Legal compliance standards? Licence tracking and management?

      1. whitepines Silver badge
        Happy

        So who's in charge of managing data protection? Legal compliance standards? Licence tracking and management?

        If IT no longer has control it shouldn't have this responsibility either. The shadow IT folks can be all individually responsible for their compliance -- when a few go to jail and loads more lose all their personal assets for things they blithely did at work, they may start to long for the good 'ol days of real admins!

    3. tcmonkey

      Not even good bait.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "You are janitors."

      Yup. The janitors who'll have to clean up the mess of a ransomware infection or the consequences of the customers' credit card details appearing on Pastebin.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "allows existing AAD users in your organization [..] to initiate a trial of the product."

    Because we are going to ram this baby down your throat whether you like it or not. And that is why we activated this ability before giving you the possibility of locking it down.

    Possibility which will unfortunately have a hiccup in a future patch Tuesday, unlocking user access once again and taking into account ever user who asked and was blocked by the setting that will unfortunately be reset.

    Because we can.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "allows existing AAD users in your organization [..] to initiate a trial of the product."

      "Because we can."

      Until customer IT departments decide to arrange things so that they can't and using the only possible means to ensure that.

  8. Mephistro Silver badge

    "...some pointed out that if IT did a better job of servicing business needs then no one would be off buying anything else anyway."

    I'm totally sure that procurement, IT support staffing and budget had nothing to do with that. Nothing at all!

    </sarc>

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Beat me to it.

  9. Robert Grant Silver badge

    Slack does this pretty well

    If you want a plugin to be installed, you can click Install and if you don't have permission, it tells you it's been sent to an admin for approval, who can just approve or deny easily, and then you get notified. Very easy, and IT control it as well.

  10. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    One man's trouble is another man's bonus

    TBH, it's offensive that they've shown such disregard for the role of admins [...] Giving end users this kind of power is asking for trouble

    Trouble for admins. It's no trouble at all for Microsoft.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Teams is utter shit.

    Even worse than Skype.

    Horrible. And those stupid cartoon characters you see in the UI can fuck themselves ragged.

  12. thondwe

    Licencing Monks have been let out?

    In the old days the Licencing Monks sat in their cave and designed perverse policies which could safely be ignored (90 day licence transfer limit anyone) but NOW they have Actual Tech to play with in O365 to enforce their rules, but of course they still don't live in any sort of real world.

    Hence, this stupid "Self Service" mantra...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reaping what you sow, I'm afraid.

    This is where you get when you repeatedly choose MS over any alternatives. It's the equivalent of discovering you're being shafted by your insurer because you've never thought about changing.

    All those Administrators so upset now had their chance a few years ago when it was possible, practical and economic to look to variants of Linux.

    Yes, maybe this time MS will relent (or appear to). But what about June. Or 2021.

    If you run a solely MS desktop environment, you are now just going to have to roll out whatever comes your way. After all, what are your options, realistically ?

  14. Snapper

    Wait!

    Till a year's time when Microshaft can the app with 2 months notice.

    Then there will be years.....

  15. Milton

    Ecosystem as punji trap

    It's yet another example of a supplier's 'ecosystem' of cloudy software being used as a punji trap. The big providers like MS are primarily interested in making you dependent upon their services: once your business and your data has been taken hostage, you're basically screwed, lying at the bottom of the pit, bleeding. You will be squeezed until the pips squeak. It's a similar model to outsourcing; once the client becomes sufficiently dependent—even on a very poor service—with the outsourcer's tentacles entwined in the client, the latter becomes a life support unit for the outsourcer, gradually drained because they have become helpless.

    In this respect cloud has been an absolute boon to the big providers, because it vastly magnifies the ways in which they can make their clients dependent upon them.

    That said, the spectacular stupidity, short-termism and greed of typical executives, especially beancounters, has played entirely into the hands of predators like MS. Even before cloud a majority fo the world's businesses were happy to pay for an operating system inferior in almost every respect to freely available alternatives. Marketing, like politics, is the triumph of lies and imbecility over facts and rationality.

    Teams has a conspicuously nasty UI (I have to use it with one of my clients, who seems entirely unaware of how much it distracts his consultants from doing real work), performs worse than Skype and positively encourages ill-considered communication and decision-making—its ability to obscure the important and highlight the trifling is a kind of dark brilliance—and adds yet more manure-for-the-eyeballs to corporate collaboration, and admins absolutely should discourage its use. Beyond some video- and screen-sharing features, well-trained, competent, capable staff simply do not need its raft of clumsily integrated baubles: and if they're not well-trained and competent you have big problems alteady ... which Teams will make worse.

  16. Tom 35

    "if IT did a better job of servicing business needs then no one would be off buying anything else anyway."

    Like that HD TV tuner?

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