Microsoft Teams Compliance: How to Stay on the Right Side of the Law

Anwesha Roy

A big part of scaling up any UC platform is strengthening your compliance measures

Microsoft Teams Compliance: How to Stay on the Right Side of the Law

As companies begin to use collaboration apps like Microsoft Teams across hundreds and thousands of employees, they must pay special attention to staying compliant.  Is data collection meeting privacy norms? Are you storing Teams data in line with your industry regulations? Is there any risk that your employees will violate communication laws in your state/region?

To make all of these easier to navigate, Microsoft Teams has come out with a detailed guide on compliance. This covers eight discrete areas:

  1. Block users from contacting each other – There might be a situation where you need to prevent 1-on-1 or group communication – e.g., during a legal investigation. Microsoft calls this feature its information barrier policy.
  2. Make sure that internal communication is above board – You can define policies to examine conversations on Teams for offensive language or sensitive information. This includes both public and private channels, individual chats, and even attached files.
  3. Store (only) the data you need – Most laws mandate companies to retire data that’s not in use. Any data that you store must be justifiable which is why Microsoft Teams lets you create policies for data retention and eventual deletion.
  4. Protect sensitive documents through DLP – Data loss prevention (DLP) capabilities govern the sharing of information/files so as to not expose sensitive information. For instance, you can define a DLP policy to stop a document from being opened by guests, if it contains someone’s social security number.
  5. Maintain readiness for audits and investigations – Microsoft Teams makes it easy to retrieve and produce electronically stored information (ESI) during audits, through Office 365 eDiscovery. You could use advanced eDiscovery as well, which provides additional ML support.
  6. Make data immutable during an investigation – It’s vital that content under investigation doesn’t change. Microsoft Teams ensures this through legal hold policies – you can either apply in-place hold (partial) or litigation hold (complete) to a team’s mailbox.
  7. Quickly surface valuable content to support litigation – content on Microsoft Teams can serve as useful evidence during compliance audits and lawsuits. For this, Microsoft Teams offers rich filtering capabilities to gather data across all users and export it for processing.
  8. Set up audit log search for continuous compliance – If you have an unlimited auditing timeline, Microsoft Teams lets you set up alerts for all audit log data, helping to filter and export the data for further study. You will need to turn on audit logging from the Microsoft 365 compliance centre (at the moment, it is turned off by default).

As companies in healthcare, education, banking, digital payments, etc., adopt Microsoft Teams for daily communication, staying compliant is critical. Fortunately, Microsoft maintains a robust control framework of 1000+ controls, adding new measures as different industries evolve over time. This is among the primary reasons why Microsoft Teams is obtaining a clear edge over its competitors!

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