How to Reduce the Risk While Migrating to Microsoft Teams


Safe to say — in 2020, Microsoft successfully managed to overturn the pecking order in the cloud collaboration space with Teams, which now hosts 115 million daily active usersOpens a new window . This year, digital became the first and the only way for people to stay engaged and connected, so businesses pushed their digital transformation (DX) efforts into overdrive. And Microsoft Teams seized the opportunity to help companies boost workplace productivity with a unified communications platform that offers a slew of standout productivity features.

As  Kevin Cochrane,Opens a new window  SVP Product Marketing at AcquiaOpens a new window and a leader in the CMS industry puts it, “With tech trends changing in the blink of an eye, the best way for brands to stay ahead is by creating a digital ecosystem that is flexible, open and free from constraints and leaving behind closed-off, single-point solutions.” 

Before the pandemic set in, Shelly KramerOpens a new window , Senior Analyst at Futurum Research, observed that collaboration apps are as important for internal teams as they are for client-facing interactions. “They are the quintessential digital workplace hub. Whether you’re messaging, video-conferencing, sharing files, screen sharing, recording a call or video, saving a recording for use later, collaboration apps are how work gets done. As collaboration platforms continue to evolve and develop, they have quickly become a can’t-live-without cornerstone of business operations,” she said. 

With Teams usage soaring, there’s no doubt that it’s a dominant unified communications platform. But at a time when organizations are constantly buying new tools to solve specific problems, they should focus on solutions that are secure by design, Cochrane adds. This also helps companies tackle ever-changing regulatory requirements around consumer data protection and privacy and safeguard data in enterprise collaboration applications.  

Here are four critical considerations for a successful Microsoft Teams migration. 

Learn More:  Top 5 Compliance Trends to Watch in 2021 & Beyond 

Access Authentication

One of the critical factors in the transition process is authentication. Gone are the days where passwords like “12345” or “letmein” were good enough. Now multi-factor authentication (MFA) coupled with advanced threat protection, is the key to ensure security.

Large organizations adopt different access levels. That’s why when setting up programs like Microsoft Teams, administrators need to determine the level of access authenticated users have. Fortunately, this access level administration can be very fine-grained and managed by discrete groups, even down to the individual level.

Ensuring User Privacy

Organizations in regulated sectors such as healthcare and BFSI need to secure sensitive information from prying eyes. This is not just for messaging but also for data sharing and video conferencing.  There is a clear need for end-to-end encryption of communication in organizations. Not only that, but enterprises should also encrypt files and stored data. 

Another part of privacy is compartmentalization. There are some types of data that do not need to be shared among different organizational levels. For example, the sales and service departments don’t need to know the salaries of the R&D department. If companies do not correctly set up the collaboration program to provide what Microsoft Teams calls the “data barriers,” you may face some tough questions down the road.

Learn More: Microsoft Plans to Update Productivity Score to Squash Privacy Criticism 

Data Security

Often, collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams store sensitive data, including business content in chats and virtual meetings. Your business’ IP is at risk if it is not stored in a secure location where security breaches, hackers, and even natural or human-made disasters cannot reach it. Ideally, the data should be encrypted and stored in a decentralized location. This way, even if the storage location is compromised, the data is still safe.   

Legal data: Unfortunately, most large organizations face legal problems. This means that any data relating to that legal issue needs to be secured in a forensically acceptable manner and made available to the courts of law when required. Hence, the IT administrators must have the proper training to put that data in what Microsoft Teams call a “legal hold.” 

Data leak: At least once in your life, we are sure that you have sent an email or chat to someone you immediately regret. Now imagine sending the companies most important business content to an external organization that could use the information to gain a competitive edge. It might be a mistake, or it might be malicious — the result is the same. 

This is where data leak prevention is critical. Microsoft Teams sends security notifications and can also delete and prevent information from being sent to the receiving party. Therefore, enterprises must ensure that data loss prevention policies in collaboration programs are properly configured and updated.


Organizations have used the pandemic as an opportunity to accelerate the movement of more files and programs to the cloud.   Though businesses want to move away from on-premise models, they need to step up investment in data governance and compliance to keep up with ever-evolving regulatory requirements. 

In 2021, we will continue to see companies struggling with the data governance aspects of migrating to the cloud.   

Learn More: 17 Essential Microsoft Teams Keyboard Shortcuts You Should Know in 2021 

Closing Thoughts

There are many factors a large organization needs to consider when migrating to a collaboration tool like Microsoft Teams. Choosing the right tool for the job is not enough. Organizations also need to select and plan the right path of migration. IT decision-makers and security leaders need to consider security, privacy, data retention, standards compliance, legal issues, authentication, and most importantly, training. Failure to follow these checks and balances will mean that not only will the migration fail, but the company could also be in a worse communications position than it was in before.

Do you think Microsoft Teams has become a leading alternative to Zoom? Comment below or let us know on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window . We’d love to hear from you!