Over the past year, the pandemic has forced companies to invest in cloud-based technologies like Microsoft 365 and Teams for secure online collaboration and productivity. However, the rapid transition to these apps has created issues like poor management or “Teams sprawl.” More and more, organisations are realising the critical importance of a governance plan to streamline adoption and enablement.

In this article, we explain what governance is, why it’s essential to seamless Microsoft adoption, and the key issues to consider when forming a governance plan.

Why Teams governance is important for your business?

Governance in Microsoft Teams essentially comes down to one fundamental mission: protecting your business’ content by regulating what users can and can’t do, whether by encouraging or enforcing certain behaviours. Allowing any member to create new groups without oversight can be messy as you may find a surplus of groups or channels that were carelessly created. However, an excess of controls put in place runs the risk of stifling adoption of the application and your people’s enthusiasm in using it.

Fortunately, strengthening governance can be made easier through our expertise. Our governance experts can support your business in establishing rules around creating new teams (all without unnecessary provisioning.) These transparent governance strategies prevent the duplication of assets and keep users informed of the existing teams and channels.

Microsoft Teams Governance – Controlling Teams’ Creation

Controlling users’ freedom to freely generate new groups is essential for minimising the duplication of new Channels, Teams, and associated data. Microsoft 365 allows you to dictate which members can form groups, but first, you must clarify: who should be allowed to create groups in your business?

By limiting the creation of new Teams, you better enforce structure, control sprawl, and prevent an excess of inactive Teams that offer no further benefit. Don’t forget, however, that users may still desire to create teams, and if so, you must have a process for users to follow in requesting new teams. You can automate this process with Power Apps which Gartner called a Leader in 2021 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-code Application Platforms.

Teams’ Naming Conventions

If your business has used Microsoft Teams for a while, you will understand that it can become confusing to understand the purpose of a specific Team. However, by enforcing conventions on how Teams are named you remove the confusion of poorly chosen titles. You also improve the findability and usage of Teams by having appropriate names for them.

Microsoft Teams offers several capabilities to support your chosen naming conventions. For example, you can set a group naming policy to add specific prefixes to group names. You can also set a list of blocked words that you don’t want to be included in any Teams names.

Application Management

While additional third-party applications are available, we advise caution as this can create challenges for your IT department. IT must ensure third-party apps, bots, or connectors, etc. are not passing on your business’s confidential information to a third party that is unchecked in terms of compliance or security.

Therefore, you must define which apps you want to give your users access to, and which apps are available by default. You must also govern that users cannot add other third-party applications without request.

Microsoft Teams: eDiscovery

If your business is in a situation where it’s facing litigation, you must provide a lot of content like calendars and conversations relating to specific projects and individuals. On Microsoft Teams, this can be difficult as relevant content is often distributed across numerous Teams and Channels.

Without the correct tools in place to provide such documentation, you place your company at risk of extensive litigation or fines. Therefore, keep eDiscovery in mind so you are aware of how to handle this situation should it occur.

Security and Permissions

While Microsoft Teams is built to support team members, you can also add external guests. However, it can be easy to lose track of which users have access to what information etc. Furthermore, there is a difference between the security and permissions for Teams and Channels. For Channels, you don’t have the same controls as you do with individual Teams.

This can confuse end-users and employees, so take the time to construct a well-thought-out Security and Permissions policy to limit the risk of security breaches, etc.

Data Exfiltration Risks

Data Exfiltration Risk describes the risk of losing your data to an undesired party. Sharing information and collaborating are staples of Microsoft Teams’ purpose, and it occurs through file sharing, written chats, and voice calls. However, this means data can be scattered across many spaces and not be accounted for. Be sure to form means of protecting your content from being acquired by non-authorised individuals.

Data Residency

It is critical for your business to know about data residency laws. These laws control how the data of a nation’s citizens is collected and used within an organisation. It is especially critical to understand these laws if you’re working as a multi-national business with offices based in multiple countries/countries with alternative data laws. You will mitigate risks to your business by abiding stringently by the data regulations of each nation.

Governance Data Life Cycle

Have you imposed regulatory rules on your content? How long do you need to keep your data? Such questions are essential to answer. It is common for Teams and Channels to be created, used only briefly, and then abandoned. Not only could this conflict with your data governance policies, but it could also leave you open to other risks as unchecked data exists here. Furthermore, it can impact the accuracy of searches and the relevance of content found.

Therefore, your business needs a Governance Data Life Cycle Strategy so you can securely hold on to necessary data while having a process to remove content that doesn’t benefit you.

Get the most out of Microsoft Teams with ThinkShare

Did you know that hybrid work is predicted to be one of the biggest work trends of 2022? This is why your business should invest in Microsoft Teams as it is acting as the frontline of hybrid work. Of course, to enjoy the stellar collaboration and file sharing features to their fullest, you must first address governance.

Our mission? To support your business increasing usage and adoption of Microsoft Teams through excellent governance. We can empower your IT Administrators and employees to adopt Microsoft Teams and 365 and guide you through the process of creating a personalised governance plan. Thereby allowing your organisation to fulfill its potential with this technology.

Learn more about how we can empower governance here or book a call with one of our consultants for more information on how we can support your business objectives.