Teams

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.

What could happen if something goes 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.

Privacy

What is required to sign up?

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

What data does it collect?

How does it use this data?

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.

Links to privacy information

Can I control it?

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

Security

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?

Yes

Encryption

Yes

Microsoft Teams uses encryption. It does not appear Microsoft Teams uses end-to-end encryption.

Strong password

Yes

Microsoft Teams requires a strong password

Security updates

Yes

Microsoft Teams puts out monthly updates on mobile and bi-weekly updates on desktop.

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Microsoft has a bug bounty program.

Privacy policy

Yes

https://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/privacystatement

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.
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
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.

Related products