Since the pandemic, Microsoft Teams has been one of the most popular collaboration tools, bridging the gap between the office and the remote workforce. For perspective on how widespread the application is, Microsoft Teams grew from 20 million daily active users in November 2019 to 250 million monthly active users in July 2021.
However, in a rush to embrace the solution, many businesses neglected one critical element – Microsoft Teams data governance. Traditional adoption processes undergo arduous scrutiny when determining how the technology will be used and managed—both from the end-user and risk management perspective—but the sudden shift to remote work made this near impossible. Yet, it is not too late to instill good governance over MS Teams, and the importance of managing it is not going away as organizations continue to meet, collaborate, and work over the platform.
MS Teams Governance
MS Teams encompasses technology, people, processes, and policies, making it one of the most intricate platforms to manage. Moreover, given its close connections with the rest of the Microsoft Suite—Share Point, Outlook, OneDrive, etc.—it should not be governed in isolation.
Governance over the platform exists to maximize the value and limit the risk associated with MS Teams data. To assist those along the way, here are three tips to help throughout the governance journey.
Acknowledge the Human Component
Microsoft Teams is a uniquely human data source, and any attempt at managing it without recognizing user influence is doomed to be incomplete. Acknowledging the human factor requires organizations to establish cultural and technological rules to safeguard its data.
In terms of cultural rules, organizations have to determine how employees should engage with one another on the platform and answer questions such as:
What matters should be discussed over Teams versus email?
To what degree should personal conversations and topics be allowed on the platform?
However, there are also technological boundaries that organizations must also establish to ensure that their data is secure and only accessible by the correct people, requiring organizations to decide:
Who has permission to create a new channel or team?
Who has permission to view what information?
When—if ever—should outsiders (partners, contractors, customers, etc.) be permitted to view or join a team / channel?
To decide where to draw these lines, organizations have to assess where they fall in the competing interests of protecting data and fostering collaboration, and establish their rules accordingly.
Apply Data Retention Policies
Since MS Teams is a one-stop-shop for enterprise communications, it is one of the most vital hubs visited for legal and compliance requests. To meet these demands organizations have to be able to reliably maintain and retrieve data created on the platform. However, there is also risk in holding onto data longer than required. The key lies in determining the proper lifecycle needed so that once it expires, it can be defensibly discarded.
While MS Teams offers natural retention capabilities, many organizations require a more specialized solution, such as one that can manage multiple data sources, that is capable of active supervision and compliance, or that can capture all data within the platform. To learn if the native capabilities or a third-party MS Teams retention solution is best for your organization, download ZL Tech and Osterman Research’s white paper here.
The data shared over MS Teams contains countless trade secrets, personal information, and other sensitive matters that organizations do not want released. To prevent that from happening, there are several security measures that organizations can take to better secure their data:
Encryption of MS Teams data both in transit and rest
Establish high levels of data redundancy to backup information
Restrict access to only the select individuals who require it
These are just a few examples of policies organizations can apply to better protect their MS Teams data. If you want to dive deeper into the specifics of managing collaboration platform data for security and compliance, reach out to a ZL Tech expert.
While there is much more to MS Teams governance than acknowledging the human component, retaining data, and securing it, these three factors go a long way in guiding enterprise data management strategies.