Microsoft Teams has eclipsed all other communication platforms in recent years, growing from 2 million active users in 2017 until 145 million active users on a daily basis in April 2021. As a platform that brings teams together for easy and instant communication, Microsoft Teams has become a platform used by businesses around the world to streamline communication and ensure messages are delivered effectively.
While Microsoft Teams comes with a range of security features built into the framework, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s completely secure. Given that as late as April 2022, CyberArk has exposed a weakness in Microsoft Teams security that completely bypassed all of their constructed defenses, it’s always a good idea to teach your team how to stay safe despite the inherent cybersecurity that Teams uses.
In this article, we’ll take a look at three simple steps your admins and users can take to make sure your Microsoft Teams environment is as secure as possible. We treat:
- Multi-Factor Authentication
- Building User Permissions
- Manage unattended devices
Let’s get right into it!
Multi-factor authentication, also known as MFA, is a technique that requires users to confirm their identity from another device before logging in. The method they use to confirm their identity can vary, although there are generally three different avenues:
- Number code – On a mobile or other connected device, an authentication app displays a numeric code that the user must then enter, confirming that they have access to the devices and is the person who owns the account
- Biometrics – On another device, users are prompted to verify their identity with an element of biometric information. Usually this is a quick face scan or fingerprint scan, proving they are who they claim to be and then accessing the account.
- Password – When attempting to sign in to an account, a user may be asked to confirm their identity by answering a security question they have asked themselves. IF they get the question right, they get access to the account.
Whatever form of multi-factor authentication is used, the goal is to ensure that even if a user loses access to their password, a hacker still cannot access the account.
Within Microsoft Teams there is actually an option to directly set up a multifactor authentication path for all users on the system. While some people may find this extra step frustrating, a little frustration is always better than having your business accounts damaged by one employee’s mistakes.
You can directly download and set up an MFA within Microsoft Teams within the Active Directory on your Admin account. take a read this guide by Teams For more information.
Create effective user permissions
Part of ensuring effective Microsoft Teams Security for all your employee accounts is actually by enforcing an element of restriction within the accounts logging into your space. One way to limit what individual users can see in their Teams account is to create permissions for each user.
Within Microsoft Teams you can create certain privileges for different users. Once an employee gets a promotion or a new one is welcomed to the team, you can quickly change the permissions associated with that account to ensure people only have access to what they need to see.
This striped system of permissions is the easiest to configure, takes a while to set up and then applies directly to all accounts within the system. You can also change individual permissions on Microsoft Teams, change what a user can access, and limit the documents they can see or download.
With these permissions, if a hacker were to access an account within your system, he would be limited to seeing only what that account has the privilege of seeing. Instead of then having access to the entire system, they would be incredibly limited, drastically reducing the critical impact of someone accessing an account.
Make sure to constantly update and change the permissions given to different accounts, changing them with staff changes. Always deactivate an account when an employee leaves the company, as this will help limit the size of your attack surface.
Manage unattended devices
In the era of remote work, it is increasingly common for employees to access work content using their personal devices. Whether it’s logging in with their phone and sending a message or downloading a file to their PC, there are many ways employees can blur the line between professional and private.
If you’re trying to create the most secure network on Microsoft Teams, an effective way to do it is to restrict access from unattended devices. An unattended device is anything that is not directly connected to your work systems or issued and controlled by your IT department.
If you are a company that releases a device for business use, this is a great idea as it ensures that only people who actually work at the company can access the files on your Teams system. This prevents hackers who gain access to an account from downloading important information because they cannot access a corporate device.
Microsoft Teams is a great tool that helps all your employees stay connected and create fluid communication routes that they can benefit from. While Teams does indeed have their own layers of security, they are not as effective as a holistic approach.
By combining the security measures inherent in Teams with the security measures we mentioned above, you can build an impenetrable system. This keeps your employees and all your company data as safe as possible online.