Microsoft Teams Security and Governance

IT's Next Big Headache

The popularity of collaboration applications like Microsoft Teams introduces new areas of security exposure to the Microsoft 365 suite. Even worse, IT isn’t prepared. These platforms enable users to add guests, share files, and change security settings without IT guidance. IT efforts to lock controls often give rise to either Shadow IT activity or user productivity decreases. In this guide to collaboration security and governance, we walk through top governance challenges, types of workstream collaborations issues, a comparison of challenges by platform, and how to monitor, measure, and manage Microsoft Teams collaboration security and governance.

Collaboration Security & Governance

Go beyond the native management solutions for Microsoft Teams security and governance – decrease risk without inhibiting user productivity with our industry-leading software: PowerSuite.

What is Collaboration Security & Governance?

Microsoft Teams security and Microsoft 365 governance boil down to managing the lifecycle of risk across your collaboration ecosystem. This covers a broad set of security-related areas: access and usage policies, user and channel management, and flexible automated enforcement. Unlike more intensive security solutions like DLP, CASB, or antivirus software, this enlightened form of governance balances risk with user productivity. When collaboration security is well-executed, it ensures consistent policy management across multiple collaboration and communications platforms.

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Guest Access

Guests are an important part of the workstream collaboration ecosystem. However, how do you ensure they only have access to your environment for the appropriate amount of time?

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End Users

Over-permissioned end users create unintentional internal threats when files are shared too freely. How do you prevent accidental data leakage?

Risk Exposure

Maintaining consistent policies across multiple WSC platforms is a challenge that can create security blind spots. Inconsistent policies result in an insecure, fragmented user experience.

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Data Sharing

The beauty of easy data sharing is also its most dangerous security risk. Due to complexity in terminology and permissions models, it’s easy for both IT and users to inadvertently expose key content.

Microsoft Teams Security

Breaking the Reactive Governance Loop

Working from a starting point of the native Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 default security tools, enterprises often become stuck in an endless loop of reactive governance activities. This process results in stalled adoption, budget over-runs, security bottlenecks, and chaotic change management processes.

Strong third party tools like PowerSuite help organizations visualize how people, locations and data merge into mini-ecosystems inside and outside of your organization. They help stakeholders responsible for Microsoft Teams governance create a framework for managing Teams in a fully compliant manner.

Types of Collaboration Security Issues

As an InfoSec or IT Professional, you’re continuously evaluating and assessing security risks. A large part of this security risk assessment focuses on dealing with end users and their, at times, questionable decisions. Their goals are simple: they’re just trying to get stuff done. Unfortunately, they don’t see risk the way IT does. If security risk is a concern at all, it’s an afterthought at best. In this blog we outline the security threats that exist in most businesses.

Adding (and then forgetting to track) guests from public domains

Installing third-party apps from platform app stores with reckless abandon

Changing sharing settings to “anyone with the link”

Hosting all Zoom meetings using personal meeting ID

Sharing files through an unsanctioned application

Watch How to Proactively Manage
Microsoft Teams Security and Governance

A Governance Checklist for Microsoft Teams Security

The following governance checklist will help enterprise IT and InfoSec teams establish the critical security and governance controls needed to reduce the risks inherent in Microsoft 365, Teams, and other mainstream collaboration platforms.

Identity Management

By allowing any user to create identity objects in Azure Active Directory, Teams adds a new vector for information sprawl. To manage the lifecycle of directory objects and mitigate sprawl, IT should set up naming conventions for Teams. This consistent set of guidelines makes it easier for users to find teams, so they don’t create unnecessary new ones.

Lifecycle Management and Sprawl

Lifecycle management is an extension of identity management and should be used to address the most common governance issue – Teams sprawl. To deal with this issue, IT should create policies around regular access reviews and consider expiration based on last activity date.

Ownership and Membership

The key to ownership and membership policies is ensuring that at least one person is responsible for each team, and that they are being used appropriately, by approved parties. IT can implement governance tools that track membership and ownership levels within each team, and notify administrators when an action needs to be taken.

External Access and Guest Access

Using policies is critical to establish controls for who, how, and to what extent external partners and guests can access Teams. Organizations should also consider an attestation model in which guests are tracked against the person who approved/invited them.

Data Access Control

Data access control is a core element of protecting sensitive information and determining what technology is needed to ensure a secure border around enterprise data. Administrators must be able to define IT personnel’s access to sensitive user data.

For additional details on top Microsoft Teams Governance problems, please visit our recent blog.

The Hidden Risk of Collaboration. Risk can originate from several platform starting points including files, chat streams, comments, and meeting transcripts. But the truth is that current and former employees are a massive high-risk area that is often overlooked.

24% of employees are unaware of their company security guidelines. Further, millennials are twice as likely to install apps not approved by IT. The result? 43% of data breaches (half of which are accidental) stem from employees.

Let end users run free, and it’s only a matter of time before something is shared with the wrong person. Download The Ultimate Guide to Collaboration Security and Governance eBook. This covers planning and operationalizing policies, evaluating the digital workplace, multi-platform preparedness, and other best practices. 

Zoom and Microsoft Teams Security

Compare Challenges by Platform

Each Unified Communications and collaboration platform introduces its own unique challenges. With different settings and features, there are some common collaboration security and governance issues seen on each platform.

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Did you know guest access is hardest to control with Microsoft Teams security?

With multiple places to control guests throughout Azure, the Office 365 admin center, and the Teams admin console, it's difficult to ensure guests are properly managed.

Keeping track of the latest features in Zoom is tough.

With so many new releases, IT can't keep up. Many departments audit settings less often than new ones are released. This creates a security blind spot.

Compare features

UC and Collaboration Platform Feature Comparison Guide

Beyond the difficulties of managing each platform, there are some issues common to all. Ensuring consistent governance across multiple platforms is key to a secure environment. This is just one of the challenges of workstream collaboration that must be overcome. Luckily, multi-platform collaboration security tools like PowerSuite simplify management and administration.

A Microsoft Teams Security & Governance Framework

Microsoft Teams security and governance solutions seem simple on the surface, however under the covers they are far from turnkey when it comes to scaling up, ensuring a seamless user experience, or enabling advanced functionality. A robust Microsoft Teams governance framework allows IT to ensure that the organization can identify clear criteria for effective governance.

Scalability

How do you plan for the growth of your organization and its set of teams and data? How will your current size, as well as expected growth, impact Microsoft Teams governance controls?

Flexibility

Every organization uses Teams in a different way. This means Microsoft Teams governance policies (including the rigidity in how they are enforced) need to be able to change to meet unique needs, and to adapt as new business uses are introduced.

Manageability

Is the framework easily manageable on the admin side? How much manual work is required to define policies, set up alerts, or enforce policies? Do the solutions incorporate AI elements to allow for proactive management?

Monitor, Measure, & Manage Microsoft Teams Security

De-Risk with the 3Ms

The traditional model of controlling user and application permissions is too cumbersome in the modern digital workplace. Old school IT governance approaches to Microsoft Teams security and governance create more pain and simply cause users to shift to shadow IT solutions as a work-around. In the new world, enterprises need to allow user behaviors, but manage exposure using a pairing of proactive monitoring and carefully executed policies.

Collaboration Security and Governance

Monitor
Rather than jump to a fix, IT focuses first on discoverability using security analytics. The goal is to carefully observe the multi-platform collaboration environment to understand how users and guests are using Microsoft Teams.

Collaboration Security and Governance

Measure
IT compares the risk exposure profile with collaboration policies as defined by the corporate governance framework. This gives IT full visibility into whether corporate policies are being followed.

Collaboration Security and Governance

Manage
Both IT and end users can jump into action to either remediate or create an exception where governance standards aren’t being met. Flexible workflows (either manual or automated) can be initiated to fit the customized needs of the organization.

For more information about Microsoft Teams Security, please read our blog on its native features.

PowerSuite & Governance

No matter where you are on your Teams journey, we can help you:

Before considering which software tools you need to mitigate risk in your environment, start with a Collaboration Security & Governance RightTrack to understand your organization’s collaboration risk levels. Consider a Teams Governance Design Workshop to create and architect your initial governance framework for Teams and Microsoft 365.

From there, you can establish more detailed governance policies and refine your framework. The endgame is ensuring that your organization can appropriately balance collaboration transparency with data protection and privacy.

PowerSuite software addresses the key Microsoft 365 security risk: that of over-empowered users accustomed to solving their own problems any way they can. They are often unaware that the information they’re sharing is their company’s greatest asset. PowerSuite enables easy discovery and monitoring of security analytics, simplified and flexible policy creation, and manual or automated policy enforcement for Microsoft Teams.

Watch How to Create Proactive Policies
for Microsoft Teams Security & Governance

PowerSuite Cloud Managed Services provides 24x7x365 security oversight of your collaboration implementations. This service is made up of 3 core focus areas:

Operations: Active policy creation, assignment, reporting/insights, and enforcement.

Policy Review & Change Management: Tracking current policies vs changes in business practices, and/or vs new Microsoft software updates.

White Glove Team Lifecycle Management: Hands-on Microsoft Teams security and sprawl protection.

With the introduction of collaboration to your communications stack, there are many additional considerations IT needs to keep in mind. With increased collaboration and visibility, it’s important to reduce the risk of security exposure from employees and guests.

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Industry-Leading PowerSuite Governance Functionality

A robust Microsoft Teams Security and Governance toolset should incorporate functionality which sets it apart from that found in the native platform tools. Here are a few examples of how PowerSuite leads the way.

SECURITY ANALYTICS

Advanced guest access analytics go beyond out-of-the-box to identify riskier guests, such as those entering your environment from public domains. Track who is accessing Microsoft Teams and for how long.

PowerSuite introduces the ability to drill down and sort/filter teams and users by comprehensive variables (e.g. owner, membership, domain, creation date, etc.).

Analyze multiple risk factors to quantify and benchmark collaboration security with a score based on metrics like classification of a team (confidential, etc.), guest profiles, and data sensitivity of shared content. Easily identify high-risk teams, departments, or users.

GOVERNANCE

Enable more granular policy control with less manual configuration, and choose where to enforce policy compliance with intelligent recommendations. PowerSuite provides multiple policy implementation options including reporting-only, end-user notifications, and IT-approved automation.

Choose from time or activity-based team expiration at the team, custom scope, or tenant level to take control of team sprawl. 

PowerSuite examines the portfolio of policies and highlights policy compliance with charts breaking down common violation types.

Easily determine (before a new policy has been switched on) how the policy will change the environment with “what-if” modeling.

What's Different from the Native Admin Security Tools?

A common misconception is that Microsoft, Slack, or Zoom have already done all the heavy lifting to help IT manage security. Although these platforms come with basic governance tools, they don’t provide the full functionality required by enterprise IT admins (e.g. enforceability, detailed monitoring and reporting, adaptive configuration, etc.). Here’s what sets PowerSuite apart from the native admin experience:

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Flexible Policy Scope & Enforcement

PowerSuite allows for nuanced policies designed for real-world scenarios, because not all policies are “one size fits all.”

Check Out More Microsoft Teams Security and Governance Resources

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