Teams Shared Channels – technical deep dive (part 1)

Teams Connect Shared Channels are one of the most eagerly awaited features since Teams has been around. Hopes were high that Teams Connect Shared Channels (Shared Channels for short) would solve all the drawbacks of private channels and memberships in multiple tenants. In this article, I’ll show you from a technical perspective whether the anticipation is justified or not.


To make a long story short: Expectations were unfortunately only partially fulfilled. In this article, all the details about private channels, their disadvantages and how shared channels look in practice in the client. The need to switch via the tenant switcher is indeed eliminated, but the number of available apps is lower than for private channels.:

Apps in private and shared channels

Similarly, not being able to invite existing guests to shared channels is a significant complication for many customers.

Azure B2B direct connect

To use shared channels, Azure B2B direct connect must be configured with the tenant you want to use these features with. If no B2B direct connect is configured, then adding is not possible:

Shared Channels with and without B2B direct connect

The reason for this is that Cross-Tenant Collaboration Settings for Azure B2B direct connect are set to Block by default. As a customer, you have to explicitly enable them for each tenant:

Azure B2B direct connect ist standardmäßig deaktiviert

Activation is very simple, just enter the tenant in the list and then adjust the B2B direct connect settings:

B2B direct connect Tenantliste

Incoming and outgoing traffic can be set individually for each tenant:

B2B direct connect settings

If these settings are configured, then the shared channels can be used. A global release of B2B direct connect should not be considered for security reasons!

Shared Channels and SharePoint

In the Teams client, you can easily recognize shared channels (which are located in your own tenant) by the icon:

Shared Channels in the own tenant

If you are invited to a shared channel in other tenants, this is how it looks in your own Teams client:

Shared Channels in a foreign tenant

Now a look towards Teams Admin Center and SharePoint Online Admin Center. Here you will find the private and shared channels shown above very quickly:

Private and Shared Channels in Teams Admin Center
Shared Channels in SharePoint Admin Center

If you look into the details here, the private and shared channels come to light:

Teams Connect Shared Channels
private und geteilte Kanäle im SharePoint Admin Center

Guests and Externals

In this article, a detailed description can be found, what it is about guests and externals and the technical difference.

In part 2 of the Deep Dive, I’ll show you how Microsoft implements behind-the-scenes access to SharePoint resources for external parties.

Published by Andreas

Founder of M365 Evangelists Cloud-Architect, Strategy Consultant, Consultant for Microsoft technologies, Graph API enthusiast, PowerShell enthusiast
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