Microsoft Teams is more than just an instant communication tool – it has become crucial to how we work, from sharing files to video conferencing, and provides essential functionality for remote collaboration. As the popularity of the platform continues to rise post-pandemic, it is important that organizations keep Microsoft Teams governance and security top-of-mind while facilitating a seamless collaborative experience, especially when it comes to shared channels, to ensure that governance and compliance best practices are followed.

Microsoft Teams Shared Channels

Shared channels are a useful tool for when you want to collaborate with a group of members in different departments, or even with external users. By default, shared channels are enabled in Teams, but you can decide whether users can create them, share them with people outside your organization, or participate in external shared channels by creating a channel policy.

Administrators have the ability to control what users can do in teams and channels by going to Teams > Teams policies in the Microsoft Teams admin center. You can either use the default global policies or create your own custom policies to assign to users individually or at scale.

The following policies are available for Teams shared channels:

  • Create shared channels
    If set to ‘on’, owners can create shared channels, and Teams apps that are available for your organization are also available in shared channels.
  • Invite external users to shared channels
    If set to ‘on’, both owners and members of shared channels can invite external participants if cross-organization trust has been configured. Policies for your organization apply to these channels.
  • Join external shared channels
    If set to ‘on’, users can participate in shared channels created by other organizations if cross-organization trust has been configured. Policies for the external organization apply to these channels.

Be sure to make use of shared channels, they are an effective way for external communication, but ensure you monitor who is able to create and join these channels. Evaluate your channel policies frequently!

Microsoft Teams Governance Best Practices

While shared channels can be used for communication within your own organization, they are most commonly used to communicate with external users, which makes following best practices for governance even more imperative. To ensure that everyone only has access to the data they need and that you are complying with security and compliance requirements for Microsoft Teams, verify that you are following governance best practices.

Teams provides a rich set of tools to help you implement any governance capabilities that may be required by your organization. When it comes to managing group and team membership specifically, the best way to ensure users have access to the data they need only when they need it is through entitlement management and access reviews.

With entitlement management, you can delegate to a project manager to gather all resources that are needed into a single package, and they can also define which internal and external users are able to make requests. Administrators can also configure access conditions that include an expiry date when users will be removed from the team unless access is renewed. This makes member management simple because it ensures that users leave a team when a project is finished and reduces the risk of data being accessed by unauthorized users. Administrators can also set up access reviews which will give group owners regular reminders to review team membership, as well as recommendations to help guide them through the review process.

Make sure you are consistently monitoring who has access to your channels, especially shared channels, to keep your data secure and ensure you are meeting compliance requirements. Microsoft Teams is a great collaboration tool when used correctly, but you must keep governance top-of-mind.

Maintain a Secure Digital Workplace by Following Best Practices

The daily use of Microsoft Teams for communication has become more widespread, and with this, it is more important than ever to ensure you are following governance best practices and only giving access to data to those who need it when they need it.

We understand it can get overwhelming to consistently monitor your channel policies and team access, which is why the experts at Klarinet Solutions are happy to help you implement best practices for Microsoft Teams to ensure a seamless collaboration experience within and outside of your organization. Reach out to us with any concerns you have about your Microsoft Teams governance.

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