What is Microsoft Teams?
Historically, there has been a great deal of confusion over exactly what MS Teams is and how it can be used. Some believe it to be just a chat tool, others just a more advanced version of Skype for Business. Microsoft Teams is far more powerful than this.
How to Use and Install Microsoft Teams
Using MS Teams requires getting to know some of the lingo. Social media users will be familiar with some of the terminology, including emojis, Stickers, and Gifs. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, though, we need to understand exactly how Teams works.
When you create a team in MS Teams, you also automatically create a SharePoint site, OneNote, and Office 365 group on the backend. Teams acts as a frontend for these backend processes.
When you open up the Teams interface, you should familiarize yourself with the app bar on the left-hand side.
Here you will find your notifications, chats, teams you are a member of, and the files you have access to. Meetings from your Outlook calendar are also synced with Teams to help you keep on top of your schedule.
When the Teams icon is selected, we can see which teams a particular user is a member of. Within a team, there could be multiple channels. Channels are dedicated sections within teams that you can organize chats and files within. Users can create new channels or hide channels they don’t want to see.
Within the channel, there are multiple tabs to select from, including conversations, files, notes, and more. Files is the directory for the SharePoint site where you can access files or add files yourself. Integrations are available so that you can add tabs from your other resources, such as a CRM.
You will need to have an Office 365 license to install MS Teams. Those with an Enterprise license can invite external users to their Teams channels through guest access. Teams can be installed on any device, so it is recommended that you have teams installed with all devices that you use to access corporate files.
If you are an Enterprise Teams customer and you need to roll it out throughout the entire organization, Microsoft does have guidelines that you can follow to do this successfully.
How to Set Permissions in Microsoft Teams
Ensuring that the right people have access to your resources is the most critical part of the deployment. Most security threats involving MS Teams exist due to misconfigurations or elevated privileges. If you’re a team owner, you have the ability to set permissions within your team. Here’s how:
- Go to “More options” – “Manage team”
- In the Settings tab, you can set the member permissions and the guest permissions, as well as a host of other permissions settings. You’ll want to limit the permissions as much as possible to avoid potential privilege abuse.
The Benefits and the Risks of Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is incredibly easy to set up and get using, and it’s free for Office 365 users. The cross-collaboration and sharing capabilities make it a viable option for teams that are working remotely to stay on top of their work and up to date with joint projects and other team members. Users can share files with each other, schedule tasks, discuss work and more.
However, as with any sharing platform, it’s not without security risks. MS Teams can make use of the security and configuration of Azure AD through an integration, but this security is very complex and often easily exploited by attackers. Quite often, the complexity of the security and configuration settings can inhibit collaboration, which essentially takes away all the benefits of using Teams in the first place.
Mostly, the risks of MS teams can be overcome through consistent and proactive monitoring to ensure that users aren’t misbehaving and that permissions aren’t sprawling out of control.
Microsoft Teams Best Practices
Some general best practices are as follows:
- Create teams that represent your organizational structure, such as Marketing, Sales, Finance and so on.
- Within each team, create channels for different projects to help direct the conversation and keep everything focused.
- You should allow users to create teams as long as you monitor them.
- Integrate with your CRM and other technology that you use.
- Use chatbots for reminders about daily activities and upcoming tasks.
More specifically, here are some security best practices you can follow to reduce threat risk:
- Make use of multi-factor authentication to make signing on more secure.
- Implement a policy of least privilege or zero trust to limit access.
- Ensure you are able to discover and classify sensitive data being shared on Teams.
- Audit when files are shared outside of the organization.
- Ensure that files aren’t being downloaded onto unmanaged devices.