Should Data Protection be a Concern in Collaboration Apps?
If you’re looking for a collaboration tool but are concerned about data integrity and security you’re not alone. A user survey of popular cloud-based apps like Dropbox, Google, and iCloud reported that 40% list security of their information as the chief concern about using a cloud environment. In fact, these days data security is on everyone’s mind, and for good reason. Data is the lifeblood for most businesses, and each year sees data breaches that escalate wildly in scope. So far in 2018, we’ve already seen 150 million users affected by the Under Armour/MyFitnessPal leak. This is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. In that light, how does Microsoft Teams security really fare? Which features make it more – or less – secure than competitors such as Slack, or Workplace from Facebook? Ultimately, what are the top Microsoft Teams security best practices that organizations should follow?
From the list of built-in security features to the customization options allowing end-users to set their own security protocols, Microsoft Teams security is equipped with a variety of ways to ensure that data stays safe.
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Quick Teams Refresher
Microsoft Teams, the new unified communications and collaboration app from Microsoft, is enjoying a rapid growth in popularity, gaining ground on established competitors. This is largely due in part because Microsoft is able to leverage its Office 365 suite to offer users a complete productivity package – integrating such tools as Word, Excel and SharePoint – within a calling and messaging environment. And, even though it was built around the Skype for Business framework, which at times can pose significant Skype for Business monitoring challenges for IT managers trying to fully integrate it into their environment, Teams offers an easy way to deliver an integrated communications and productivity system.
Microsoft Teams Security Features
Certification and Compliance
From the outset, Microsoft designed Teams to be fully Office 365 Tier-C compliant, covering such essential standards and models as SOC 1, SOC 2, ISO 27001, and HIPAA. Regarding SOC 2 specifically, Microsoft has this to say:
“SOC 2 is an auditing procedure that … securely manages your data to protect the interests of your organization and the privacy of its clients. ISO 27001 is a security standard that is intended to bring information security under explicit management control. It is one of the most widely recognized certifications for a cloud service. And today, we are proud to join the family of Microsoft cloud services in scope for SOC 2/ISO/IEC 27001.”
While certifications and compliances aren’t necessary “features,” the fact that Teams is built to handle data in compliance with standards such as HIPAA means that they take data security seriously.
Unlike Slack, Microsoft offers a variety of authentication protocols making it harder for external and unauthorized users to gain access. These include organization-wide two-factor authentication, or a single-sign on through Active Directory.
While Slack and Teams both encrypt user data in-transit and at rest, the key difference lies in how this process is controlled. While Slack handles this encryption themselves, Microsoft uses Active Directory to manage much of these functions, in turn giving IT departments more direct control over their security. As another layer of protection, certain Office 365 apps including SharePoint and OneNote offer their own encryption protocols.
Auditing and Reporting
Teams offers support for audit log searches within the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center, a critical security feature enabling system administrators to quickly identify potential incidents. On top of this, administrators can also set alerts for either workload-specific or generic event sets to boost incident investigation.
With Teams, the physical location of your data will be established based on your region – which is especially important if you live in an area with stricter data security regulations than other regions. Teams currently supports regional data allocation (using Azure) for users located in the Americas, United Kingdom, Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and APAC.
Microsoft Teams Customization Access Permissions
In addition to the wealth of built-in Microsoft Teams security features, Teams allows IT and system administrators a robust variety of customizable options to make your deployment as secure as you need it to be. Teams automatically confers two security levels to users: Owners and Members. Any user, by default, who creates a new group is considered to be the Owner, and therefore has access to a flexible range of control settings for group members that sets restrictions on everything from viewing content to adding connections.
The great thing about this setup is that Owners are able to get as much granular control as needed. This gives them the opportunity to create a highly-structured control environment over how users access and share data.
Microsoft Teams: Stop Worrying About Cloud Data
Microsoft Teams data security will always be a concern of IT teams and organizations. However, with the right security tools and protocols taking care of your data, you won’t have to worry about your sensitive information operating in the cloud. And with Teams’ Tier-C compliance standards built in, as well as its flexibility to create your own customizable security setups, you’ll be able to enjoy powerful collaborative and productivity tools that won’t put you at risk for a costly incident.
Unify Square provides award-winning unified communications software and services to help enterprises reap the benefits of cutting-edge communications technology. Contact us today for a demo of our PowerSuite software and to learn how Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams can power your success.