Working from home is now the new ‘normal’. Businesses able to do so have transitioned to remote working and, with no clear indication on the expected length of the COVID-19 lockdown, are getting comfortable; establishing remote routines, revising business strategies and implementing appropriate solutions to enable their employees to work from home efficiently.
With increased reliance on remote working solutions, coupled with reports of increased cyberattacks related to COVID-19, it’s crucial to make sure that the technologies you’ve chosen for your business are secure.
Microsoft’s collaboration platform ‘Teams’ has seen an unprecedented spike in usage since the COVID-19 pandemic first locked the UK down in March. The company reported that usage rose 200% in just 2 weeks, recording a mind-blowing 2.7 billion meeting minutes in one day on the 31st March.
Microsoft Teams, part of the Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) family, is designed to be a ‘virtual office’ and focuses on enabling remote collaboration, with features such as seamless video calling, easy chat, file sharing and collaborative working channels. By offering this variety of communication options, Microsoft Teams aims to increase remote productivity, focus and collaboration amongst its users: strong requirements during the COVID-19 lockdown. But during the current challenging climate, businesses need to know that their remote working solutions are secure.
So, how safe is Microsoft Teams?
Branded by Microsoft as ‘Safe. Secure. Free’, Teams enables users to collaborate without compromising privacy and security. During a recent press release, Jared Spatero, VP for Microsoft 365, explained that “Now more than ever, people need to know that their virtual conversations are private and secure. At Microsoft, privacy and security are never an afterthought”. Microsoft has built Teams on their Microsoft 365 hyper-scale, enterprise-grade cloud, which offers some pretty heavy-duty security and compliance capabilities.
Security statements and ethos’ are reassuring but businesses need security measures that suit their individual requirements; healthcare organisations are concerned about patient privacy, consumer businesses are worried about their customer data, and financial institutions need to prevent cyberattacks. Microsoft Teams offers advanced security and privacy features designed to meet the needs of different industries. Teams’ core security features include:
- The ‘Trustworthy by default and design’ policy
Teams is designed and developed in compliance with Microsoft’s Security Development Lifecycle. Privacy and security are embraced throughout product development and transparency for users is key. Microsoft doesn’t deliver data-driven advertising and deletes all data after a Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) subscription ends. Teams also meets more than 90 regulatory and industry standards, giving users peace of mind that their data and personal information isn’t at risk.
- Enhanced security and privacy for video conferencing
Users can manage who can see meetings, participate in them and access meeting information. Meeting organisers can stipulate who waits in the ‘lobby’, remove participants during a meeting and designate “presenters” and “attendees”. All meeting participants are notified when a recording starts, and recordings are stored in a controlled repository protected by encryption and permissions. Teams also benefits from artificial intelligence (AI) which monitors chats to help prevent negative behaviours.
- Identity and account protection
Teams uses multi-factor authentication which protects your username and password by adding a second form of verification such as a code delivered through a mobile app. This fundamentally protects businesses from cybercriminals targeting employees with weak or stolen passwords. Microsoft Teams enforces this authentication through ‘Azure Active Directory’ — a single, trusted, back-end repository for user accounts.
- Encryption and advanced threat protection
Company data and information is encrypted in transit (being sent to a colleague, for example) and at rest. Teams uses Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP) to check the integrity of data which moves from one virtual place on teams to another, enabling safe file and information sharing. Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) checks content to see if its malicious or suspicious, and blocks user access if it is.
During uncertain times like these, using a fully secure solution to support your business can be the difference between struggle and success. If you want to learn more about Microsoft Teams and how it can help keep your business productive and secure, get in touch with us for a free 6-month trial.