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Tech Talk: Microsoft Teams Governance

teams govern

Klarinet Solutions hosts monthly Tech Talks for our clients and partners, which covers various topics around Microsoft 365 and the modern digital workplace. In our latest Tech Talk, Michelle Willard, Digital Workplace Consultant, and Daniel Amaro, Lead Consultant at Klarinet Solutions, led the main discussion on Microsoft Teams Governance and Microsoft 365 Updates. However, in this article, we will summarize what our experts discussed for Microsoft Teams Governance, here it is: 

Microsoft Teams Governance

Rolling out Teams for an entire organization requires alignment with the organization’s data governance policies, objectives, and regulations. 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 software management. But whether you are using Teams or not, it is always necessary to try and understand why you are using technology. Is it to increase sales, ship more product, communicate more, increase performance, more family time, more money?

Users need to understand how and why powerful tools like Teams are relevant and imperative to the success of their organization. So if you have an initiative that you are trying to work on trying to understand what you want to be organized around, whether it is clients, quarterly goals, projects, or the culture of your organization. It can be more than just one initiative; however, to get your team on-board, you have to sell the “why it is necessary to use Teams” and further communicate how Teams play into executing a strategic game plan. If you don’t have that approval from your people or just view Teams as merely a “chat app,” it will be challenging to optimize its capabilities and, more so, know how to govern it for your organization.

Governing Teams can be a bit complicated. People often do not grasp the complexity behind Teams as it automatically connects and interacts with SharePoint Site Collection, Office 365 Group, Shared Mailbox, OneNote Notebook, Email Address, and Azure Active Directory. Therefore, the planning, creation, and execution of Teams need to have some thought and account for various factors such as architecture, structure security, creation, management, and so on. Let’s dive in:

 

1. Plan for Teams – Architecture

Once again, the planning behind Teams needs to be there. How do your users think about information, and how is your team structured? Is it a hierarchy, team-based, program-based, client-based, or multi-structured? Also, how are you accounting for different groups, departments, and branches? These are all vital questions the organizational executives need to ask themselves before they set up and leverage Microsoft Teams. When rolling out Teams within your organization, you’ll benefit from thoughtful planning. You’ll want to choose settings and configurations based on your policies and culture then proceed to make them clear to Team executive who can help support effective communication plans across the organization.

 

2. Creating Teams 

When creating teams, you need to find the balance between giving your people the freedom to interact and setting up restrictions to support the desired structure for your organization. As emphasized in our Tech Talk, you can give your team the freedom to do as they please, but this can be compared to giving a 16-year-old a Ferrari, the consequences and the control on after will be hard to solve. On the other hand, you cannot make Teams a jail where people cannot do anything and are extremely limited by the executives of the organization. If you set up your Teams Governance policies correctly, then you should have no problem empowering your organization to have the ability to create teams as needed.

Therefore, the questions you need to ask yourself as you govern Teams and create channels are: Who can create Teams? When does a Team get created? Do you need naming conventions for your Teams? Do you require prefixes or other global configuration policies? Is there a template that you need to have when creating new Teams? Do you need a process to request a new Team? The biggest thing we see with Teams is Teams Sprawl and Channel Sprawl.  The idea here is to have a good understanding of what needs to be controlled and what does not.

 

3. Managing Teams – Tools

After you answered many of these questions around planning and creating teams, you can transition to managing Teams’ tools, which include: Teams Admin Center, security and compliance, Azure AD, and SharePoint Admin.

  • Teams Admin Center
The Team Admin Center is the most vital tool you need to use to manage your existing Teams. Within Teams Admin Center, you will have the opportunity to focus in on polices, reporting, apps, org-wide settings: external access/ guest access. Some questions you can ask yourself are: What actions should we allow users to ave (internal and guests)? Will we allow meet now, private channels, emojis, and so on? What apps should we allow users to add? Should we allow external access and to whom? What is the usage we are currently seeing? What tools can boost our teams’ interactions?
As stated, the process of managing Teams can vary and depend on every specific capability you are trying to put in place, whether that is to build a secure structure, manage external users or particular guest, and implementing different policies and features. You can address these goals through a multitude of ways, whether that is leveraging Azure AD, connecting with SharePoint, lock up by user domain, enabling and disabling policies on Admin Center, etc. Keep in mind that some teams will be long-lived and more structured (such as directory-based and departmental teams). In contrast, other teams will have a less formal framework that is focusing on specific objectives such as a product launch, external communication, or short-term projects. Every team can vary in its unique way, depending on what it is you want it to do. 
  • Security and Compliance 

Depending on the type of work and content your organization deals with, permissions and security may be the most important piece of governance planning. By default, when creating a Team, the privacy setting is set Private. This means that only Team owners and members can access the content. There is also an option to make a Team public so that anyone within the organization can join. This is notably different from Yammer, which defaults to being public. The reason for this is that Teams aren’t meant for organization-wide collaboration; they are expected from a group of people within an organization that works together closely. Teams cannot be turned on solely for some parts of an organization and not others; it is tenant wide. However, Office 365 Administrators can turn off the Teams license for individual users.

All of the same security-related principles of the Office 365 Trust Center apply to Teams. There are controls in place for data loss prevention, auditing and retention policies, data spillage management, and data deletion for chats and channel messages, SharePoint, OneNote content, OneDrive, etc.

Despite being a digital workplace tool, Microsoft Teams, propels managers to be transparent and good communicators working toward building positive working relationships with their team. Teams are one of the most successful enterprise solution apps that allow businesses to manage their teams, drive up productivity, and connect people through all devices at an enterprise-wide level.

 

IS MICROSOFT TEAMS YOUR GO-TO?

Microsoft’s Teams strategy is to provide unprecedented levels of flexibility to businesses and their users while also providing better video conference tools, control over deployment, security, and many other powerful remote work features. If Microsoft Teams isn’t your go-to, it should be! Klarinet Solutions specialize in optimizing your Microsoft 365 Teams integration, implementing policies to secure your data, and developing a streamlined process that supports business objectives. If you want to hear the latest news, insightful hacks, or ways to leverage technology, contact us at 866.211.8191 or through email at info@klarinetsolutions.com.

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