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.
What is required to sign up?
Third party account
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?
Alerts when calls are being recorded?
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?
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?
Microsoft Teams has a clean interface. Microsoft offers a easy to use and understand help page at https://support.office.com/teams
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
Microsoft Teams uses encryption. It does not appear Microsoft Teams uses end-to-end encryption.
Microsoft Teams requires a strong password
Microsoft Teams puts out monthly updates on mobile and bi-weekly updates on desktop.
Microsoft has a bug bounty program.