If you use Microsoft Teams, you need these Microsoft Teams security best practices. This collaboration technology product is excellent for engaging employees when they are remote or based in different locations. However, your IT security measures also need to keep pace so you do not suffer a breach. Your first move is to focus on how the product itself and make sure it is fully secure.
Microsoft Teams Security Best Practices: Product Specific Tips You Need To Know About
As you review these tips, check whether anybody on your team is consistently using these practices to ensure Microsoft Teams is fully secure.
1) Regularly Manage Apps Connected to Microsoft Teams
You can connect multiple apps to Microsoft Teams, including other Microsoft apps and apps created by other companies. Using the “Manage Apps” feature is a Microsoft Teams best practice we encourage you to use. At first, inspect this list of apps every month and check to see if there are any new apps there. If nobody in your organization can explain why an app is connected, use the principle of least privilege and remove it.
2) Set Up And Control Guest Access
Guest users are a reality in modern business. For example, you might have an external auditor visit for a few weeks to review financial practices. During their review, they will need access to a variety of information, so setting them up with guest access may be the right solution. The good news is that Microsoft Teams is built with guest user access requirements in mind.
If your organization has a low-security risk appetite, then disabling guest access is a smart move.
3) Regularly Audit Microsoft Teams User Activity
From an IT security perspective, there are several simple ways to analyze user behavior to improve security. Start with the most basic — review user login activity. When you find a user has not logged into the system for a set time (e.g., 30 days), consider changing permissions or restricting that user. Likewise, take note of users who install apps to Microsoft Teams. Installing apps can be an excellent way to boost productivity, but it may also increase security risk.
Tip: If you see user activity that doesn’t make sense (e.g., installing multiple apps in the middle of the night), make it a priority to get answers. Such unusual behavior warrants a close look.
4) Familiarize Yourself With Microsoft Teams Security Limitations
Knowing what the product can and cannot do is an excellent way to reinforce all of the other Microsoft Team security best practices here. For example, the product’s security is enhanced by other Microsoft products such as Active Directory. However, the product does not have end-to-end encryption as of mid-2020. Therefore, you may want to guide staff on what kinds of data can be safely used in the product.
5) Proactively Monitor Microsoft For Updates
Complex software products are challenging to keep secure, and Microsoft Teams is no exception. That’s why the final step Microsoft Teams’ specific security tip requires you to stay vigilant. At a minimum, review security announcements from Microsoft about new features and security updates. This type of ongoing monitoring will help you to reduce the chance of suffering a security incident.
Now that you have a few of the primary tactics in place, it is time to take your Microsoft Teams security best practices to the next level. Fundamentally, it doesn’t make sense to assess and protect Microsoft Teams as a standalone app. Instead, IT security needs to be implemented as an enterprise-wide process.
Supporting Enterprise Practices and Tools
The above tips will help you make the most of the features, settings and capabilities of Microsoft Teams. That is just the beginning of the journey. It is also essential to look at ways to improve security best practices in other parts of the organization. To further enhance Microsoft Teams security, take a closer look at your processes, people and technology.
Improving Process Oversight
With all of the different settings and configuration options, Microsoft Teams security requires a healthy degree of process oversight. To get started, check to see if you have a segregation of duties in security management. That means having one person responsible for setting up security settings, administering users, and so forth. Separate from the administrator, assign another person to review the settings and point out any security issues that need to be addressed
Support Your People’s Skills
Microsoft Teams is a relatively new product first released in 2017. That means that many of your IT and business users will have a limited understanding of the product. To address these people’s limitations to security, develop two training approaches. First, build a “security cheat sheet” aimed at business users with a list of dos and don’ts (i.e., your company’s simplified list of Microsoft Teams security best practices). For IT security specialists, consider sending your staff to an approved training course to go more in-depth on security best practices. Check with ISACA for security training suggestions.
Simplify Your Security Technology
Microsoft Teams security best practices exist in the context of your organization’s broader IT environment. That’s why you need tools that make IT security administration. For example, use an IT security chatbot to make password resets fast and easy. For the best results, choose a password administration tool that integrates with Microsoft Teams as well as other systems like Slack. That way, if Microsoft Teams is offline, your staff will have other options to regain access.
Constant Vigilance: The Path To Effective Microsoft Teams Security Success
Strengthening Microsoft Teams security requires significant effort. Since it is a collaborative tool with many different users and a substantial amount of configuration complexity, it is up to you to control it effectively. The journey starts by familiarizing yourself with the product’s features (e.g., allowing guest access) and the risks these features pose. Once you have these app fundamentals optimized, it is time to turn your attention to the broader context.
Microsoft Teams security is only as good as your broader company’s security practices. If it is easy to gain access credentials or break weak passwords, fine-tuning security settings in one app is not going to keep you safe. Therefore, take the time to self-assess your processes, people and security. Take a close hard look at access management and whether these processes are adequately automated.