The Siplifi Blog

Welcome to the Siplifi blog, a place where we share information we’ve gathered during our deployments, in order to help you resolve technical issues.

We’ll be posting tips, fixes and hints for all our major technologies including Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business Server & AudioCodes Session Border Controllers.

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Restrict Custom Backgrounds In Microsoft Teams

Jul 2, 2020 | Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams provides the ability for users to upload custom backgrounds for video conferencing purposes. In addition to the default background images, the custom upload option is a great for users to engage in video adoption more. However, whilst this provides a great deal of flexibility to a user, it is also open to abuse. So how do you restrict custom backgrounds in Microsoft Teams?

Since the custom background feature was rolled out, Microsoft have also deployed new PowerShell commands to aid in restricting background functionality. This feature isn’t available in the Teams Admin Centre so you’d be forgiven if you haven’t been able to find it. The custom background restrictions can be controlled using the new VideoFiltersMode, which is a part of the Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy command. The VideoFiltersMode itself contains four sub options that can be configured, these relate to the type of background you either want to allow or permit.

  • NoFilters – No filters are available (This essentially turns backgrounds and blur off)
  • BlurOnly – Background blur is the only option available
  • BlurAndDefaultBackgrounds – Background blur and a list of pre-selected (Default) images are available.
  • AllFilters – All filters are available, including custom images.

Controlling Custom Backgrounds

The application of these settings can be controlled through a Teams Meeting Policy. You can either change the default global meeting policy or create a new meeting policy if you need to restrict custom backgrounds for certain users. An example of how to do this is detailed below, you’ll need to establish a PowerShell session to your Office 365 tenant before you can execute the command. In this example, we are running the change against the global meeting policy and are allowing the blurred background option only.

Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy -Identity Global -VideoFiltersMode BlurOnly

Once the command has been executed it will take some time to be reflected in the Microsoft Teams client due to Office 365 replication. We normally recommend waiting at least 30 minutes before signing out of your client and then back in again. You can however confirm the change by executing “Get-CSTeamsMeetingPolicy -Identity Global” and checking that the VideoFiltersMode has updated.

Set-CsTeamsMeeting BlurOnly

Once the change has replicated in Office 365, when starting a new video conference and attempting to change the background, you will now see only the Blur or no background options exist. This essentially takes the Teams client back to how it operated prior to custom backgrounds being released. Now that the meeting policy has been updated, when a user attempts to set a custom background the following will be displayed.

Restricting custom backgrounds to blur only.

Whether a “custom images only” option is added to the Meeting Policy, remains to be seen. We’d certainly see the benefit however, as the demand from organisations to apply a default corporate background image grows. If you’re looking for help with refining your meeting policies check our consultancy services or get in touch using the contact form below. We hope this article has been helpful in detailing how to restrict custom backgrounds in Microsoft Teams.