10 Reasons Why You Need a Governance Program and Software for Microsoft Teams

10 Reasons Why You Need a Governance Program & Software for Microsoft Teams

2 June 2020 · 7 min read
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Remote work has brought many changes. Among them is a 200% increase in the meeting minutes for Microsoft Teams between the beginning of March until now. This rapid digital transformation over the span of only two months has turned Microsoft Teams from a “nice to have” application to a “must have.”
Rolling out Teams for an entire organization requires alignment with the organization’s data governance policies and various laws and regulations on privacy & cybersecurity. For organizations that initiate hundreds to thousands of projects, opportunities, engagement or matters per month, the scale of governing a Microsoft Teams deployment will require an investment in personnel and/or software.
Here are 10 reasons why your organization needs governance software for Microsoft Teams:

1. Locating Data in Microsoft Teams

When organizations create a workspace in their Document Management System (DMS), a matter or a project number from a lookup list is assigned or any other metadata (e.g. department, project/matter owner, etc.). This provides the ability to track the location of content. Microsoft Teams does not have a similar function for assigning metadata. The impact is there is no way to link a Team, Channel or documents back to a particular project or matter ID with rich metadata.
Without software, a person would need to manually track the URL of a Team or Channel to Matter. This data would need to be manually tracked in a spreadsheet. There is a high risk of human error with this approach.
Automated provisioning can automatically link the project/matter identifier and rich metadata for the matter with a Team or Channel in a directory.

2. Updates to Client & Project (Matter) Names and Other Metadata

Changes in client and project/matter names and other metadata can happen due to a number of reasons. Whether these changes come from Practice Management, Time & Billing, CRM, HRIS, or practically any system of record, the need for consistency in these changes across all projects is necessary for both, efficiency and governance.
With manual tracking and manual name changing in Teams, there is a huge risk that the tracking spreadsheet will get out of sync. This is a fragile process that can be heavily impacted by changes in personnel or unforeseen circumstances, like a pandemic.
By using an automated process, any changes in the matter/project tracking system can be quickly reflected in Teams and appropriately tracked in a directory.

3. Consistent Channel and Folder Structure

To govern content, you need to know where it is located. It is critical that users place content in the right location. Inability to locate content also translates into an inability to set proper security permissions and respond to audits, legal holds, and file transfers. This includes Microsoft Teams.
An approach to getting a team to work together effectively is to have them agree on a Channel and folder structure for organizing the content, chats and tabs. This aids in user adoption. The benefit of the approach is that people can come on or off a project with an understanding of where to find content and how to collaborate.
With automatic provisioning of Teams & Channels through templates, organizations are able to obtain governance in Teams. It enables application of necessary information barriers, security & permissions. It also means quicker adoption of Teams across the organization.

Adding governance to Microsoft Teams ensures that an organization knows what & where content is stored to effectively protect confidential and sensitive information.

4. Ability to Transfer a Project/Matter on Client Request or Subject Access Request

Transferring project or matter details per client requests happen quite often. Risk management teams need the ability to easily identify appropriate content and provide it to clients. Without a system in place to govern data, facilitating the location of data and providing it accordingly becomes problematic.
Also, various privacy regulations require organizations to effectively meet Data Subject Access Requests (DSAR). With a governance layer over content in Teams, organizations can rapidly locate data to respond to DSARs and client requests to ensure privacy compliance.

5. Apply Ethical Walls/Information Barriers & Need-to-Know Security

Governing content across multiple content systems is challenging. And protecting sensitive information is a requirement for worldwide privacy laws and cybersecurity frameworks. Organizations need to set up proper security controls across systems, including Microsoft Teams.
Governance for Teams starts with assigned client or project/matter numbers. Through this, content can be tracked, and the necessary information barriers and other security measures can be applied automatically. Adding governance to Microsoft Teams ensures that an organization knows what & where content is stored to effectively protect confidential and sensitive information.

6. Team Ownership

Each Team in Microsoft Teams has a team owner who controls security, permissions, and general rules of the Team. In this case, team ownership presents some risks to the overall governance & security of the organization. The team owner can accidentally or intentionally change security settings, putting confidential data at risk. Or the team owner can leave the organization, effectively orphaning that specific Team. An orphaned Team is then difficult to manage & govern, increasing the risk around its content.
A comprehensive governance layer for Microsoft Teams and other systems eliminates the team ownership challenge, making a System Account the owner of all Teams and strengthening content security & compliance.

7. Managing Internal & External Users

Teams offers a platform for collaboration and productivity, but user management is up to organizations. Managing a vast array of users in Teams, internal and external, can become challenging as far as security is concerned.
Integrating Microsoft Teams with DMS provides access management to quickly identify external and internal user access. When guests or external users are invited to Teams, this capability ensures that appropriate access is provided for only necessary projects or matters. This is done by identifying projects or matters through their respective client or project numbers and setting up permissions accordingly. With proper governance in Microsoft Teams, the likelihood of inappropriate access for internal & external users diminishes.

8. Geo-Location of Teams for Global Organizations

With global organizations present in different parts of the world, and data being equally spread, neither can escape the privacy law requiring data storage in the corresponding geo-location. For example, GDPR requires data to be stored in the EU or UK accordingly. It’s similar with other worldwide privacy laws.
Geo-Location Setup in Microsoft Teams
Storing data in appropriate geo-location is offered by Microsoft, but there’s an obstacle to privacy compliance – data is stored based on the home location of the user creating the Teams. By allowing for a system account to provision the necessary Teams & Channels and select the data storage location, organizations can obtain proper governance in Microsoft Teams & comply with the necessary privacy laws.

9. Complying with Outside Counsel Guidelines (OCG) & Regulations

Privacy regulations and outside counsel guidelines are placing increasing reporting requirements on organizations. Because of this, organizations need the ability to provide proper data governance proof. Such proof includes reports for governance of data spread across all systems the organization uses, including Microsoft Teams. Without a system in place to govern spread data, facilitating the location of it quickly becomes problematic.
Having automatic provisioning allows organizations to locate data and set legal holds based on clients and projects or matters. This propels governance in Teams to ensure organizations can report to their clients and regulatory bodies that controls have been set in place to ensure compliance, and through that, reduce the risk of fines or loss of clients.

10. Data Minimization & Retention Policies

Many organizations have policies in place to ensure data minimization after a project is completed. To diminish any privacy risk, organizations need to know what data they have, where this data is stored, and what the suitable retention periods are. This encompasses data stored and shared through Microsoft Teams too.
Governing Microsoft Teams content ensures that organizations can securely transfer content from Teams to their Document Management System (DMS) or any other system, and minimize risks by applying data minimization & retention policies.

How Prosperoware Helps

Prosperoware CAM tackles Microsoft Teams governance challenges by associating Teams and Channels to a directory of matters/projects and other content systems, including the DMS, efficient application of ethical walls and information barrier reinforcement, among others. CAM offers a comprehensive governance layer for Microsoft Teams. Our best practices and guide to rapid Teams deployment assist organizations in leveraging the best of Microsoft Teams.
CAM is an enterprise privacy management platform for content systems designed to improve processes around management of office documents and reduce risks related to privacy & cybersecurity.
CAM helps organizations using Microsoft Teams through:

  • Automatic provisioning of Teams, Channels, and Tabs based on templates, reducing provisioning time to a few seconds
  • Easier content location through the project/matter directory
  • Eliminating Team ownership and geo-location challenges by setting the System Account as a Team owner
  • Ability to integrate Microsoft Teams with IntApp Walls and iManage SPM to apply ethical walls and information barriers & other security permissions
  • Efficient tracking of access for guest, external, and internal users
  • Management of internal and external users through automatic membership updates
  • Scheduled or manual transfer of Microsoft Teams content to the DMS, and more.

How Prosperoware Helps

Prosperoware CAM tackles Microsoft Teams governance challenges by associating Teams and Channels to a directory of matters/projects and other content systems, including the DMS, efficient application of ethical walls and information barrier reinforcement, among others. CAM offers a comprehensive governance layer for Microsoft Teams. Our best practices and guide to rapid Teams deployment assist organizations in leveraging the best of Microsoft Teams.
CAM is an enterprise privacy management platform for content systems designed to improve processes around management of office documents and reduce risks related to privacy & cybersecurity.
CAM helps organizations using Microsoft Teams through:

  • Automatic provisioning of Teams, Channels, and Tabs based on templates, reducing provisioning time to a few seconds 
  • Easier content location through the project/matter directory 
  • Eliminating Team ownership and geo-location challenges by setting the System Account as a Team owner 
  • Ability to integrate Microsoft Teams with IntApp Walls and iManage SPM to apply ethical walls and information barriers & other security permissions 
  • Efficient tracking of access for guest, external, and internal users 
  • Management of internal and external users through automatic membership updates 
  • Scheduled or manual transfer of Microsoft Teams content to the DMS, and more. 

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Want to see CAM & Microsoft Teams in action?

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