How to Secure Data in Microsoft Teams

13 September, 2022 How To

How to Secure Data in Microsoft Teams

 

Introduction

Microsoft's Teams platform has been widely adopted in the corporate world for many good reasons. This popularity is due in part to the platform's flexibility in allowing third-party applications to supplement the platform. But what of security? Fortunately, Teams has several impressive features that boost the security stance of the platform drastically. In this article, we'll look at some best practices to help you secure data in Teams.

 

Sensitivity Labels

One of the drivers for businesses to adopt platforms like Teams was the need for remote collaborative work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many chose Teams over platforms like Zoom due to the improved features and security. The downside of being feature rich is it's often not that easy to unlock all the security features as you might not even know they're there. One such security feature is sensitivity labels.

 

These labels form part of Microsoft Information Protection features and allow users to classify data so as better to protect sensitive data. Labels can be added without negatively impacting Teams emphasis on collaboration between team members. For instance, if the label is set to secret then data is encrypted and only can be viewed by team members. Those outside the organization will just get the encrypted information with no way to decrypt and view the data.

 

Data Loss Prevention

Data loss prevention, simply known by its acronym DLP, was designed to prevent accidental exposure of critical data. Given that Teams is continually looking to improve integration among teams Microsoft implemented DLP as a means o help protect against data breaches. When set up properly DLP will block unauthorized access to data.

 

This is done primarily through the use of a content analysis engine, that scans both files and chats for when protected data is shared. If that data is deemed protected by the engine and the policies set up by the team's admin then access to that information will be blocked. Typically policies will be applied to external third parties and guest users in order to help protect data.

 

Data Access Control

Similar to DLP, data access control is primarily policies that allow for the safe sharing of data. Primarily data access control can be given to external third parties or guests. While it might not seem that there is much of a difference between external access and guest access, the two in practice are quite different. Both policies grant added security features to help them to secure teams.

 

External access allows access to share an entire domain. This effectively allows Teams and Skype users to collaborate and set up meetings with the team responsible for the data while adding an extra layer of security.

 

Guest access allows a user to be granted access to the Team and specific functions including chat, file sharing, and other collaborative channels. The guest does not need a Microsoft 365 account and can just use their business email.

 

Conclusion

Securing Teams often rely upon a simple set up of policies. These measures greatly improve the security stance of the organization as a whole, not just the team collaborating together on a project.

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