Office 365 Groups for Admins - Group creation policies

Tags: Office 365, Unified Groups

In this post of the Office 365 Groups for Admins series I will talk about the small but important policies we can apply to Group creation.

At the moment there is very little control of the actual Office 365 Group creation in Office 365. And this tends to be one really important aspect of the Unified Groups discussion - can we allow them or not? I do hope that I over the time can update this post with new and improved governance features.

Group naming policies

One of the few configuration options you have for the Unified Groups is how they are named when created. You do not configure this from the Groups settings in the Admin portal, where one could expect it to be, but rather under Admin > Exchange > Recipients > Groups. Then click on the ellipsis (…) and Configure group naming policy:

Group Naming Policy in EXO

The Group Naming Policy consist of two parts; General and Blocked Words.

An important thing to remember is that these policies only applies to when an end-user creates a Group in the user interface (web or Outlook 2016), not when an administrator creates them using PowerShell.

General

Under the General configuration of the Group Naming Policy you can configure name prefixes and suffixes. Not that this is only for the display name for the Group, not for the e-mail alias or anything else. The prefixes and suffixes can be based on an Attribute or plain text. Attributes are read from some of the user account properties; for instance City, Company etc.

In this screenshot below I have configured both prefixes and a suffix. Each Group will now get a name as follows: <Company><City><Group Name> 'Group'. That is for instance "Contoso Stockholm Project X Group".

A sample Group Naming Policy

The example above is pretty bad though. Now if someone creates a group called "Project X Group", this is what they will see an interface like below:

Creating a Group

But when the Group is created it will actually look like this: :)

SNAGHTMLbb7767c

Nevertheless, it is a good idea to actually  configure at least a prefix, that will make sure that your GAL looks a little bit prettier.

Blocked Words

Since everyone can create Groups it is a good idea to block some words from the Group naming. Names that you don't want to see in your GAL and other entry points. This can be done with the Blocked Words feature:

Blocked Words


Default e-mail domain

Since each Group has its own e-mail address each e-mail address has a domain name. When creating a Group you cannot specify the domain so it will actually use the default domain that you have configured in your tenant. You can change the default domain in the Admin portal under Domains and then choose which one of your domains to be default.

Default Domain in Office 365

Uservoice

There are a couple of interesting ideas on the Office 365 Uservoice site I recommend that you vote on:

Summary

If you're enabling creation of Groups in your Office 365 you should consider configuring your Group Naming Policies. Unfortunately the options at the moment are limited to the display name - hopefully we will se better options for this in the future.

1 Comment

  • Julian Knight said

    I think that the group naming policy applies to ALL group types not just Office 365 Groups. That would mean that even things like groups created to control mail flows. So care should probably be taken over these settings.

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About Wictor...

Wictor Wilén is the Nordic Digital Workplace Lead working at Avanade. Wictor has achieved the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) - SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) - SharePoint  and Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) - SharePoint 2010 certifications. He has also been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for seven consecutive years.

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