Microsoft Teams Security and Functionality Updates in 2022

Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo for Teams brings more control to companies when deciding where their data is located. It’s especially helpful for multinational companies.

Multi-Geo is supported across Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive, and now Teams. Teams Multi-Geo enables customers to store Teams core customer data for end-users in the geo-locations of their choice by using the same Preferred Data Location (PDL) attribute leveraged by existing Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo services.

All the existing systems that you’re using for any sort of information protection and compliance will work just as they’re designed to with Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo.

New ways to regulate Teams

The term “hybrid workplace” captures the increased flexibility that comes with mobile technology. Employees are no longer confined to one location. They can work anytime, anywhere. For IT and Security teams, this may mean evolving your information protection and governance strategy to support greater flexibility. The reason for Microsoft’s commitment to Teams is clear – they want to help you manage the lifecycle of your content more efficiently.

Retention for Teams private channels is readily available

Private channels are great to use when you want to limit the information of your project to only the people who are directly linked with it. This way, any sensitive or confidential data can be kept hidden from wider company analysis and so on.

Microsoft Teams private channels now come with retention and deletion policies on general release. It is now possible to create specific retention policies for private channels’ messages, just like you can already do for their public messages. They can keep or delete them according to your organisation’s policies.

Keep information that has a sensitivity label of 'generally available'

Organisations that use sensitivity labels may also have specific policies about how long they should keep that sensitive data. Now organisations can use a sensitivity label to make sure that whatever they archive will be labelled appropriately.

Microsoft has announced plans to update policies to target specific teams

You can customize a group’s retention and deletion policy based on certain criteria. For example, a company may have a three-year retention period for messages in Teams for users located in Germany while users based in the US have a five-year policy for messages.

Organisations can change the guidelines depending on what group users belong to, their age, or if it’s a company domain. These policies stay up to date as the organisation creates and deletes teams, or when employees change departments. Adaptive policy scopes are compatible with other Microsoft products like SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer, etc. Adaptive policy scopes are available in Preview.

Preserve the version of a file shared in a Teams message

One of our favourite features of collaborating with teammates is the ability to easily share documents in Teams chats and messages. Just upload them to OneDrive or SharePoint and share them directly in Teams. Your teammates will be able to access and edit them instantly.

However, for some organisations, it can be important for compliance regulations to identify the specific version of the file shared at the time of communication.

Microsoft is introducing the ability to retain the specific version of the file attachment sent with a Teams message. Organisations can assign labels to files so that users can find them more easily. They can also protect files from being deleted or edited by anyone.

Information barriers enhancements – modes and insight cards

Microsoft has a new product called Microsoft 365 information barriers which are designed to help organisations segment end users per business compliance needs and restrict their communication between the segmented users. Microsoft has continued to innovate information barriers and have made these enhancements: barrier modes, insight cards, and implicit mode.

Enhancements to secure collaboration and access governance

Co-authoring and autosave enabled in Office documents encrypted using Microsoft Information Protection. With co-authoring, you can work with other authors on the same document at the same time, without having to switch between operating systems.

That means you can use Office desktop apps, Office web apps, and Teams. In March 2021, Microsoft shared that co-authoring and autosave were available on Microsoft Information Protection (MIP) documents. Microsoft has announced that co-authoring and autosaving on Office documents encrypted with MIP is now generally available for Windows and Mac.

Auto labelling enhancements for OneDrive and SharePoint documents

Last year, Microsoft announced the ability to detect and label sensitive files in a collection. They can specifically target SharePoint Sites or OneDrive accounts that users specify. Microsoft is going to take the automation of labels a step further by enabling admins to create an auto labelling policy for all OneDrive and SharePoint accounts in their organization. This includes documents that are being created or uploaded, including those in Teams.

Continuous Access Evaluation (CAE) in SharePoint and OneDrive

With conditional access policies, users can support a core principle of Zero Trust, verify explicitly, across Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive. Microsoft has now taken their authorisation journey one step further by announcing the general availability of Continuous Access Evaluation support in SharePoint and OneDrive. Security-centric actions or conditions, for instance, a user’s password change, can be evaluated continuously to keep a closer eye on access to sensitive data.

Channel sites management in SharePoint Admin Centre

As the usage of Teams within organisations escalates, the number of team-connected and channel-connected sites in SharePoint continues to grow. Microsoft has introduced a simplified way to discover and manage these Teams-related sites.

Microsoft has created a new experience for Teams to have a collective view of all sites and channels. This enables admins to easily view the settings and policies that are configured for the team and channel sites.

Data access across Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive.

External collaboration has always been a core component in many organisations. IT and SecOps teams work tirelessly to protect sensitive information from employees that might accidentally share it with guests.

Data access governance insights can be found in the SharePoint admin centre and provides admins with essential info on how sites’ data is shared labels and policy settings. The dashboard also enables admins to set more restrictive settings on certain sensitive websites. This information helps admins identify which sites have the most sensitive documents and the content has been shared externally to validate whether sensitive labels and access restrictions are adequately placed.

Customer Key support for GCC, GCC-High, and DoD clouds

Microsoft announced that Customer Key support for Teams will be generally available in May 2021 for commercial cloud clients. Support will also be extended throughout government agencies in the same timeframe. Customers who are using GCC, GCC-High, and DoD government clouds will be able to utilize Customer Key support for Teams.

Customer Key concept is built on service encryption and enables users to keep the encryption keys for their company data close, to protect themselves from potential data leaks.

Committed to enabling secure, compliant collaboration

This is a great time to be in the workforce because the latest announcements and advancements in technology are making workplaces more productive, collaborative, and safe. Microsoft remains committed to offering a broad portfolio of tooling to help organisations protect and govern their sensitive data. In the last few months, Microsoft also shared several other key innovations that are enabling customers to help meet security and compliance obligations.

Microsoft Graph Export API for Teams messages

Microsoft announced the general availability of the Microsoft Graph Export API which enables customers and ISVs to export Teams message data for processing in their security and compliance SaaS applications. This helps organizations meet regulatory and legal requirements around managing and archiving information. Microsoft Graph Export API for Teams supports exporting Teams messages and message hosted content for a particular end-user or team that is subject to compliance.

Microsoft 365 App Compliance Program

The Microsoft 365 App Compliance Program is a two-tiered approach to app security and compliance curated for developers best summarised by its mission statement: help Microsoft customers have complete trust in the applications that run in their organisations. Each tier of the program builds upon the next to maximise confidence IT and SecOps teams have in their Microsoft 365 ecosystem.

End-to-end encryption option for Teams 1:1 Calls: public preview

In October 2021, Microsoft announced the public preview availability of using end-to-end encryption options for one-to-one Microsoft Teams calls. IT admins will have full control and discretion over how E2EE is used within the organisation.

If you would like to chat about your Businesses needs, get in touch with our IT experts.

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