Information Governance

Harnessing MS Teams Data for Compliance

Stay ahead of the curve by learning the key challenges and best practices for managing MS Teams for compliance


As we all know, the business world has undergone dramatic transformation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic—most notably the shift to remote work. While it began as a strategy to flatten the curve, the benefits of working from home are recognized by employers and employees alike. Collaboration platforms, such as Microsoft Teams, have been instrumental in enabling the workforce to remain productive and realize the benefits of remote work.

Although many organizations have recognized the value of remote work and embraced it eagerly, many have failed to consider how it falls into the changing compliance landscape. Information generated and shared on MS Teams should be factored into an organization’s governance and compliance strategy. The risk lies in the unprecedented adoption of MS Teams as well as the amount of data being created within the platform. This is exemplified by a Forrester study that found the key productivity driver associated with MS Teams is having all functionality needed during the workday in one platform.

Employees are accomplishing a variety of tasks on MS Teams that previously required the use of multiple platforms, such as sending messages, sharing files, and editing documents. Users are also able to respond to peers with nonverbal cues: emojis, gifs, and reactions. While these features make MS Teams a more dynamic communications tool than email, they inherently represent architectural complexities that make the data source difficult to manage for compliance.

We are all familiar with the importance of managing emails for compliance, as organizations have spent an enormous amount of time and money on email archiving and governance solutions. What may be less well known, is that organizations have invested heavily for twenty years to solve the challenge of email archiving and have just recently began to address MS Teams. Even with the mass amount of time and resources spent on email compliance initiatives, they remain imperfect. Drawing a comparison to MS Teams, there is a clear imbalance between the adoption of the platform and the resources invested in managing the data source for compliance.

It is only a matter of time before MS Teams data rises to similar importance to email (if it hasn’t already), becoming relevant in litigation and subject to compliance violations. If organizations don’t take steps to bring this data source in-line with their overall governance strategy, they will be massively exposed to risk—possibly without even realizing it.

A few of the questions that organizations need to consider when incorporating MS Teams in their compliance strategy, include:

  • What are the key considerations your organization needs to have in mind when approaching this challenge?
  • What are the best approaches for capturing and governing MS Teams data?
  • Does your governance solution support Teams data? If not how difficult would it be to implement a fix?

To find out the answers and further explore the intricacies of MS Teams compliance with experts in the field, watch the ZL Tech webinar here.

Grant Sturtevant is a technology enthusiast who relocated to the bay area following his undergraduate studies—receiving degrees in business economics and entrepreneurship. Knowing early on that he wanted to build a career in software, Grant is thrilled to be working with information management solutions.