Teams this product meets our minimum security standards
Microsoft | Free trial, Paid plans from $5 - $20 per month

Teams

Review Date 04/23/2020

Teams, the business-focused service from Microsoft that integrates with its popular Office365 services, has seen a surge since the pandemic hit, doubling its users in just four months. Similar to Zoom, Teams allows for video chats between hundreds, even thousands, of people and lets users join a call with just a meeting link, no app installation needed. On top of that, Teams offers Slack-like features, letting users instant message colleagues and providing integration with non-Microsoft apps. With Zoom getting hammered for its privacy and security in the media right now, many organizations are switching to Teams as an alternative.

Minimum Security Standards

Five basic steps every company should take to protect consumer privacy. Learn more.

Overall Security Rating
5/5 star
Encryption
Yes
Microsoft Teams uses encryption. It does not appear Microsoft Teams uses end-to-end encryption.
Security updates
Yes
Microsoft Teams puts out monthly updates on mobile and bi-weekly updates on desktop.
Strong password
Yes
Microsoft Teams requires a strong password
Manages vulnerabilities
Yes
Microsoft has a bug bounty program.
Privacy policy
Yes
https://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/privacystatement

What is required to sign up?

Users can create a Microsoft account with either an email address or phone number

How does it handle privacy?

How does it share data?
Microsoft – which owns Teams – can collect a fair amount of data from the use of its products including things like name and contact data, demographic data, payment data, interactions, device and usage data, payment history, browse history, device, connectivity and configuration data, searches and commands, voice data, images, contacts and relationships, location data, and social data. It states in its privacy policy it won’t use anything in personal messages for advertising. It does use other data to target you with advertising within Microsoft web properties. It also shares data it collects on you with partners like Verizon and Facebook for advertising purposes.
How are your recordings handled?
Microsoft Teams can record group calls and meetings but not one-on-one calls. Saved meetings are stored in the cloud on Microsoft Stream.
Alerts when calls are being recorded?
Yes
One-on-one call recording is not yet an option, but when recording starts on a group call all participants are notified.
Does the platform say it is compliant with US medical privacy laws?
Unknown
The paid version of Microsoft Teams can be HIPAA compliant. Please check with your healthcare provider to make sure the version of Microsoft Teams they use meets all the requirements.

Can I control it?

Host controls
Companies are able to control the amount of permissions their employees have on Teams. A company can allow its Teams users to call external accounts outside of the organization, allow file sharing and specify which Microsoft voice chat products Teams can work with (Skype for Business, for example). Guest access allows a person outside the organization to access channels.
Is it easy to learn and use the features?
Yes
Microsoft Teams has a clean interface. Microsoft offers a easy to use and understand help page at https://support.office.com/teams
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What could happen if something went wrong

What's the worst that could happen. Well, first, you could turn yourself into a potato and not know how to un-potato yourself as happened to one boss using Microsoft Teams (see the story below for a good laugh). Aside from potato-ing yourself, what should you worry about? Microsoft has a decent track record when it comes to keeping its products secure. And it does an OK job being transparent about what data it collects, how it is used and how and when it can be deleted. That being said, it did come out last year that Microsoft was allowing contractors in China to review Skype (also a Microsoft product) calls in an insecure manner. Microsoft apologized and changed its behavior, but it was a good reminder that companies don't always prioritize your privacy over their profits.

Updates

Microsoft listened to Skype calls with 'no security' to protect recordings, report says
CNET
A Microsoft effort to improve Skype calls and the Cortana virtual assistant by listening in on user interactions reportedly had "no security measures" in place to protect data. Contract workers in China were able to access recordings via a web app from personal computers in their homes, according to a Friday report in The Guardian.
How to Look Like a Potato in a Microsoft Teams Video Conference
How-To Geek
By now, you’ve probably seen the viral tweet about the woman who turned herself into a potato during a Teams meeting and couldn’t turn the filter off again. Here’s how you can make yourself a potato in your next meeting using Snap Camera.
Rethinking Zoom? How WebEx, Teams, and Google Meet and Duo Compare on Privacy and Security
Inc.
If you're among the many looking for a new video conferencing tool after adding "zoombombing" to your vocabulary, you're in luck. While a one-size-fits-all solution doesn't exist, there are many other options with proven security features. Here's a roundup of some of Zoom's competitors and their privacy and security features.
Medical Privacy Gets Complicated as Doctors Turn to Video Chats
Consumer Reports
Health comes first, privacy experts say, but when you have a choice, it's best to use a service that complies with HIPAA

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