Microsoft Teams is an important tool for workplace collaboration, file sharing, communication, and planning. As more companies move to remote and hybrid work arrangements, this cloud-based application, which users can access from anywhere, has become even more important.

Microsoft Teams is an essential productivity tool for the modern workplace, but it brings a unique set of issues related to access, compliance, and security.

What is Microsoft Teams governance?

Microsoft Teams governance is the management of user access and data in a way that meets security and privacy standards. When you have employees or contractors in different locations using Teams, it is essential to ensure that everyone meets these standards and understands the best practices for using the application.

If you want to create an effective Microsoft Teams governance plan, you need to establish best practices for day-to-day use and ensure that everyone understands the standards and expectations.

Access, privacy, and security are important aspects of Microsoft Teams governance. However, the management of this collaboration system should also improve usability, efficiency, and organization. For example, you can have an established naming hierarchy for each channel within teams. By creating conventions for naming channels, you can ensure that users can find the right place for their project or work group. You can also make rules about how to store and organize data and ensure everyone is aware of any compliance requirements related to the use, storage, and deletion of sensitive information.

Here is a closer look at how to create Microsoft Teams governance best practices for your company.

1. Define who’s in charge

IT administrators will likely oversee day-to-day Microsoft Teams governance. These tech pros understand the nuances and capabilities of Microsoft Teams and related Microsoft 365 applications. They probably already handle security, database access, and updates, so they are certainly capable of creating policies and best practices and ensuring proper security.

Depending on your industry, executives, analysts, or company lawyers can either provide insights or offer approval for any practices or rules the IT team wants to instate.

Every user should be aware of who makes the final policy decisions about Microsoft Teams and 365 and who they should contact if they have questions.

2. Decide who can grant access

Administrators can grant access to employees of the company. However, Microsoft Teams also allows users to add guests who can also access the platform. This is necessary if you work with people from other departments or companies, certain B2B service providers, freelancers, or contractors. The administrator needs to decide if they will allow everyone to invite guests or if only department admins or project leads can do so.

3. Have clear naming practices

You need to clearly define the process for selecting names for different teams. This is important on a practical level because it ensures teams don’t create confusion by using the same or similar titles.

The best way to ensure clarity is to require teams to use identifiers. Administrators can actually apply directory settings so that a prefix or suffix gets used for a team from a specific department, location, or group.

4. Protect sensitive data

Microsoft Teams offers unparallel data-sharing features. This is great for productivity, but it can bring privacy and security concerns. You need to limit and encrypt information that could be sensitive. In addition to protecting your company’s data and trade secrets, you may need to comply with privacy laws.

Administrators can set privacy protections for each document on their Teams platform. The settings will allow you to limit access to files or drives, encrypt data sent outside of the office, or place a watermark on documents that will get shared publicly.

5. Manage and secure add-ons and third-party apps

Another great feature of Microsoft Teams and 365 is the ability to add apps from Microsoft or third-party providers. These additional tools can help you customize your platform and increase productivity. However, you need to set parameters so that employees don’t add apps that could compromise security.

Teams lets you allow specific apps and block others. For example, you can permit software from Microsoft or other major publishers or apps built by your IT teams. You can block other third-party products or require employees to get permission from an administrator before downloading a third-party tool.

6. Manage access

One of the more traditional aspects of Microsoft Teams governance involves giving permissions to users. In addition to log-in credentials and other basics, you can set visibility so that only invited team members can view specific documents. This can be useful when there are sensitive documents or if you hold the personal information of clients or customers.

Of course, some information and resources will be useful to everyone. You can set organization-wide access for items that you want everyone to see and use.

7. Set data loss prevention parameters

Microsoft Teams actually automatically tracks some data, such as credit card numbers, and alerts administrators when the numbers are moved outside of the network.

You can actually set up additional rules through the MS Teams Compliance Center. In addition to specific types of data, you can set up alerts for specific accounts, projects, and teams. It is also possible to collect data on information that gets shared, which can be useful for tracking and data collection for analytics.

8. Set rules for keeping and erasing data

While some information will be useful for analytics, a lot of data will cease to be relevant after a project gets completed. Administrators can set up rules that will automatically archive important data from certain teams after a project is done. At the same time, you can also create settings that will erase teams from the system after a set period of inactivity. To ensure nothing sensitive gets deleted, Teams will send an alert to the administrator to review the team before deletion.

This governance feature allows you to avoid a cluttered system with teams that are no longer active or useful.

What if you don’t establish Microsoft Teams governance best practices?

A lack of good governance can lead to a disorganized Teams system that is confusing to navigate and contains numerous teams that are no longer in use but may still contain sensitive data.

Lacking Microsoft Teams governance can also cause security and compliance issues because users will be able to share sensitive information or allow unauthorized users to access it unwittingly.

At the same time, policies that are too restrictive will harm productivity and may actually harm security because employees may switch to unsecured third-party apps if they are frustrated with the restrictions on Teams.

You can get professional help to establish your company’s Teams governance systems

If you need professional assistance setting up your system for easy Microsoft Teams governance, you can contact the Microsoft consultants at Softlanding. We provide IT consulting and managed IT services in Vancouver and help you establish and manage Microsoft 365, Teams, and other Microsoft technologies.

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Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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