Microsoft Teams is a powerful, robust collaboration tool that allows your distributed team to work from home in the midst of COVID-19 without losing access to communications and file sharing. With recent upgrades for functionality and expanded features, it has never been easier to leverage Teams to keep your remote workforce cooperating seamlessly.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams combines workplace chat, video conferencing, and file storage and collaboration. It also has extensions that integrate with third-party apps, even those not made by Microsoft. As a unified communication and collaboration platform, Teams combines the functionality of other programs like Slack, Zoom and Google Drives into a single central app. Additionally, it is connected to your Microsoft Office 365 database and integrated with Outlook Calendar, OneDrive and SharePoint, giving you immediate access to shared files and internal contacts.
How to Install and Access Teams
If you have an Office 365 license, then you can readily access Microsoft Teams. But that’s not the only way to access and take advantage of the platform.
Individual users can use their work or school email address to sign up through this link. You will automatically receive a license valid until January 2021. This license lets you take advantage of chat, screen sharing and recording, video meetings with up to 250 participants, and Live Events for up to 10,000 participants.
If you have a Gmail or Outlook email address, you can sign up for the freemium version by clicking on this link. This version supports chat as well as group and one-on-one audio or video calling. It also gives you 10 GB of team file storage and 2 GB of personal file storage.
The previous freemium version used to have various limits on users, but Microsoft opted to lift these restrictions on March 10. Another notable change is the inclusion of meetings requests, which Microsoft has committed to include in the freemium version in the future.
Microsoft also provides assistance to IT professionals looking to roll out Teams for their company. Certain users qualify for a Microsoft offer for a free Office 365 E1 license for six months. All you have to do is to contact your Microsoft partner or sales representative.
If you work in the education sector, Microsoft recommends getting Office 365 A1, a free version specially created for educational institutions. This version is available for students, teachers, and administrative staff.
Microsoft Teams Still Performs Optimally During COVID-19
The sudden increase in remote workers is sure to put a lot of pressure on many platforms, but Microsoft Teams is more than prepared to handle the load. As a cloud application, Teams was built to handle traffic fluctuations and changes in network speeds. In particular, it is designed to anticipate problems on three core aspects:
- Systems during a sudden surge in usage
- Location during an area-specific event, such as a hurricane
- People during an event that affects users, such as COVID-19
To address problems in these aspects, Microsoft implements what is called an Active/Active Design. This means that the system uses multiple instances in response to user request or input. These instances run in different datacenters, which means that an event that affects one cannot affect the others. This enables the system to isolate problems and resolve them without affecting performance.
Let SWK Technologies Manage Your Microsoft Installation
Microsoft Teams offers a great opportunity for companies to remain productive in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. Collaboration and communication are the keys to keeping your remote workforce in contact and performing at full capacity during these uncertain times.
Contact SWK if you would like to learn more about Microsoft Teams or are ready to start adopting this software for your working from home environment.