Microsoft Teams and Security

Data is at the heart of every organization, so it’s crucial that the tools we use in the workplace keep our data secure and protect its integrity.

In the last 15 months, millions of organizations around the world have had to make changes to their businesses and the way they work to be able to support employees working remotely. Working from home has it’s benefits and challenges. One of the biggest challenges is that of collaboration and communication. These are key to a team’s and a company’s success. From detailed planning sessions to brainstorming and watercooler chats, we communicate to share ideas, collaborate on projects and initiatives, offer support and grow as a business. Businesses had to find different ways to achieve the same collaboration and communication results with people working remotely.

As a result, a number of existing and emerging collaboration and video conferencing tools have become extremely popular in recent months. Microsoft Teams being one of them. There are currently 145 million daily active Microsoft Teams users. That’s 50% more than there were only a year ago.

Microsoft Teams is a staple in Microsoft 365 portfolio of cloud applications. It integrates seamlessly with SharePoint, OneDrive and Outlook to offer robust file sharing capabilities, as well as a strong instant messaging and video conferencing feature.

This has led to Microsoft Teams generally being accepted as the number one collaboration and communication application.

Is Microsoft Teams Secure?

With so many people relying on it, the question becomes how secure is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft classifies all of its Microsoft 365 products into one of four compliance categories: A, B, C and commitments are enabled by default. Being in this category, Microsoft Teams is compliant with a range of regulatory security standards, such as ISO 27001, ISO 27018 and HIPAA Business.

Microsoft Teams uses several security features to be able to meet these compliance requirements, including team-wide and organization-wide two-factor authentication and single sign-on, which can be enabled through Active Directory. This means that account security isn’t tied to password or device security, which is particularly important for workforces with employees using the application on their own personal devices.

Active Directory also allows Teams to encrypt all data in transit and at rest to protect it from unauthorized viewing. In addition, files stored in SharePoint and OneNote are secured with encryption protocols delivered via the two applications respectively.

Every piece of data that you send via Microsoft Teams, be it a file or instant message, is stored and backed up in Azure. Azure is delivered through data centers in over 50 regions around the world, which allows Microsoft to store Teams data based on an organization’s region. This means that all data is stored in compliance with the data security regulations of the region that each organization is operating in.

Files are stored in SharePoint or OneDrive for Business, meetings are stored in Stream, voicemails are stored in both Exchange and the user’s inbox, and chat messages are stored via eDiscovery in Exchange Online and in a hidden file within the user’s mailbox.

Finally, Microsoft Teams automatically assigns one of two security levels to users, based on their role within the Team. Owners are users who create a group or Team. Members include anyone else who is added to the Team by the Owner. By default, Owners can restrict the actions of Members, including what content they can view, whether they can create channels, and whether they can add new Members. This gives Owners a granular level of control over how data is shared in the groups they create making them an administrator for the team. By default, all users with an Exchange Online mailbox have permissions to create a Team and become an Owner. However, these permissions can be tightened to provide a business with tighter control on the creation of new teams.

How To Use Microsoft Teams Safely

As you can see Microsoft Teams has a variety of built-in security features which can be configured to meet the needs of an organization. But, if we have learned anything from the cybercriminals over the years, nothing is hack proof.

Here are some additional measures you should consider to secure Microsoft Teams.

  • Make sure that only authorized users, whether they are employees or guests, can access your businesses Teams platform.
  • Enforce least-privilege access to provide users access to resources they absolutely need to their work.
  • Invest in Multifactor Authentication (MFA) solution to allow for secure identity verification.
  • Ensure you have endpoint protection (EDR) solution in place.
  • Implement a strong backup and recovery solution. Although Microsoft backs up your Teams data, it doesn’t secure it indefinitely. The average retention is 30 to 60 days which is not nearly enough should your business be a victim of a cyber attack.

Conclusion

Microsoft Teams is an excellent collaboration and communication application which is why millions of people around the world use it daily. This also means there is a lot of data that lives within an organization’s Teams platform that is worth protecting. Take the necessary security measures.

Contact us to find out how we can help you secure and optimize your Microsoft Teams.

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