An Admin’s Guide to Office 365, Part 2: Office 365 Groups

One of the most important items to understand in Office 365 is the concept of an Office 365 group. We have all worked with groups for years for things such as setting security for files or distribution lists. The Office 365 group is similar, but takes on much more functionality.

If you’re not sure what we’re talking about, go back to our last installment introducing Office 365 administration.

The first item to look at is how to create an Office 365 group. The most obvious way is within the admin panel of Office 365. When you create a new group, you have the option of a Distribution list, a Mail-enabled security group, a traditional Security group or an Office 365 group.

For this example, there is a new Office 365 group called “Office 365 Blog Series”. As shown below, there are a couple of interesting aspects of these groups from the very beginning. One of the first things you will notice is a simplified group model within the group definition itself. There is the concept of Group Owners and Group Members. Group Owners can obviously control every aspect of the group. Group Members have full access to all the associated components of the group.

What makes an Office 365 group most unique is that when one is created, processes within Office 365 automatically begin creating other associated items and setting the appropriate security on those items so all members of the group have access to them. Some of the items that are automatically created are:

A shared OneDrive location for files that members of the group have access to:

A conversation area for the group, as shown below in Outlook 2016:

A SharePoint Team Site:

A OneNote notebook:

None of these items were created manually – it all happened in the background when creating the group. What’s more, this group shows up in various different applications, such as Outlook or OneDrive for Business so that they can be favorited and accessed easily. Finally, as Microsoft has been doing consistently for a while now, all these components are accessible from the mobile applications as well.

Next time we will look at other ways Office 365 groups can be created other than through the Admin tool.

If you have any questions about administering or implementing Office 365 in your environment, send us an email or give us a call at 502-240-0404!