It’s a common refrain we hear: Organizations tell us that they’ve implemented Microsoft Teams successfully, but not necessarily with the most effective outcome. And our reply is always: “Tell us about your Microsoft Teams governance.”
The resulting conversation typically reveals aspects of governance that, given the proper attention, can increase Teams utilization and, as a result, employee engagement, collaboration, and productivity.
What we mean when we talk about Microsoft Teams governance
Wonderful things happen when you’ve got Microsoft Teams governance locked down:
- You take control over who can join teams.
- You decide whether guests can join specific teams.
- You can classify teams in the way that best suit the way your organization works — or to create efficiencies where they’re needed.
Over and over again, we find that governance standards and practices are the “unfinished business” of Teams implementations. That’s a pity because “governance” in Microsoft Teams means that your people can only go where they’re permitted, to perform only the tasks that are theirs to do.
The good news is that there are well-established and proven Teams governance rules that any organization can adopt and adapt to make Teams the high-productivity asset it should be.
As you institute Teams governance standards in your organization, you’ll get the most bang for your buck if you focus on 2 areas:
- Team lifecycle management
- Security controls
Lifecycle management in Microsoft Teams
The vast majority of teams will have a lifecycle with 3 definable stages:
- Team creation
- Team management
- Team deletion and archiving
Effective, diligent, ongoing governance across all 3 of these stages will result in numerous beneficial outcomes for your organization:
- Your organization can say goodbye to “orphan teams” that no one belongs to or uses.
- You’ll only have as many teams as you need.
- Everyone will belong only to the teams where they have a purpose to be included.
- No one will be in a team where they don’t belong.
- People will be included only in communications that are relevant to them. None that aren’t.
- Users will be able to quickly access the files, documents, and other resources they need to accomplish their tasks.
- And when a team reaches the end of its usefulness, it’s “gone but not forgotten,” with its conversations and files archived and accessible.
The big idea: Eliminate “Teams sprawl.”
Imagine your Microsoft Teams instance as a place where efficiency reigns. Where the plague of “Teams sprawl” is replaced with a tightly governed, intelligently organized Teams instance. Where your people can click right into their teams, communicate and collaborate seamlessly with their coworkers (and, if needed, guests — see below), and quickly access the files they need.
Everything your people need is there, and nothing they don’t. Less time wasted, more tasks accomplished. And less burden on IT.
Security controls in Microsoft Teams
You can rightly say that Microsoft Teams security is Microsoft 365 security. And it makes perfect sense when you account for all the core services including instant messaging, audio and video calling, online meetings, and extensive web conferencing capabilities when provisioning a team.
The core security aspects of Microsoft Teams governance are:
- guest user access
- access reviews
- content sensitivity labels
- entitlement management
Again, the “big idea” behind security controls in Teams is ensuring that only authorized people — whether inside or outside your organization — can access your Teams environment and are prevented from going where they don’t belong.
When you have security controls optimized in your Teams instance, you are:
- Classifying teams to control the sensitivity of their content
- Strictly controlling guest access to teams and supporting services
- Providing internal owners with the ability to review permissions on a regular basis.
Collaboration via Microsoft Teams becomes next-level when you allow external users into your Teams instance. But that calls for next-level security practices.
Better Microsoft Teams security: Here’s what it takes.
Non-native supporting technologies will deliver the most effective security solutions for your MS Teams instance. And yes, they require budgeting for implementation, management, maintenance, and licensing.
But as I mentioned earlier, investing in Microsoft Teams security is a simultaneous investment in Microsoft 365 security. This is because these security capabilities span nearly all services within Microsoft 365.
Better Microsoft Teams governance starts with these questions
When determining which controls to implement, you need to ask specific questions about team usage and the organization. Some example questions could be:
- Do you require a naming convention for all teams?
- Do you need the ability to assign classifications to teams?
- Do you need to provide team expiration?
- Do you need to restrict guest access to teams?
- Do you need to restrict guest access to teams?
- Do you require controlling who creates teams?
- Do you need approval for team creation?
The answer to these and similar questions will dictate the controls, policies, and rules you need to create. Remember that these controls are not just for security but also for better use and management.
Now, get the ultimate guide to Microsoft Teams governance.
Governance Rules Every Organization Should Implement on Microsoft Teams takes you even deeper into Teams governance issues (I bet you’ll recognize lots of them!), and offers actionable solutions. Get it now.