Wednesday, 16th June 2021
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Time for a change in Teams tactics?

The pandemic induced a rush to digital collaboration that left the over three quarters of businesses leveraging Office 365 and 97% communicating via Microsoft Teams exposed to potential risk.

AvePoint has published the results of its Impact of COVID-19 on Workplace Collaboration Survey. The 2021 report, conducted in partnership with Exec Survey and iGov Survey, reveals how over 200 unique organisations in the U.K. enabled seamless business continuity amid rapid societal change, where they face security challenges today, and what policies and procedures they are prioritising in the next six months.

Despite a quick pivot to digital, most companies did not have a roll out plan: Since the speed of deployment was crucial to workplace productivity, three quarters (75%) of organsations deployed Microsoft Teams without proper governance or security in place, leaving them vulnerable to internal and external threats.

IT teams express confidence in their collaboration security: Nearly all (95%) of companies believe they are compliant with internal and external regulations. Similarly, only 7% lacked confidence that their digital collaboration deployment was secure from data leaks and unauthorised access.

However, only about a quarter are currently doing routine governance, compliance, and security tasks: Annually, just 28% check the settings and membership of Microsoft Teams, to identify potential risks. Only 25% remove guest users, in addition to less than a quarter (22%) who can determine who has access to specific data for audits, and the mere 13% who can restore individual files deleted for a year or longer.

“While the speed at which many organisations pivoted to the cloud this year was nothing short of amazing, that may have come with major security trade-offs,” said John Peluso, Chief Product Officer at AvePoint, and Microsoft Regional Director. “But I am optimistic because, as our survey revealed, many businesses now have an opportunity to reduce risk in the near and long-term with proper governance solutions in place.”



Consistent with the over 145 million daily active Teams users Microsoft recently announced, AvePoint found that only 3% of companies do not leverage Teams today. Further, regular Office 365 usage jumped from nearly half (48%) pre-pandemic to now over three quarters (76%).



Increased Microsoft Teams usage is creating more demand for collaboration security, but blockers remain: Despite widespread adoption of new digital communications tools, 43% of companies believe making them compliant is challenging. In fact, 37% want to invest in Teams governance and management in the future to reduce the burden on IT and more confidently ensure they are compliant with regional and industry specific guidelines like records – which only 23% of companies capture across Teams.

IT Teams experienced heightened demand: Nearly half (48%) of organisations’ IT teams need hours or days to create digital workspaces like Microsoft Teams or SharePoint once requested by employees, which can lead to low adoption and shadow IT. As a result of increased responsibilities, the biggest challenge for 56% of organizations is the surging burden on IT when it comes to managing and servicing new collaboration tools.

“Our digital collaboration survey found that it is near impossible for employees to always comply with relevant policies, and for IT to monitor said activity, especially with the increased responsibilities they’ve taken on over the past year and a half,” said John Hodges, SVP Product Strategy, AvePoint. “That’s why there is a growing need for governance automation for any company leveraging tools like Microsoft Teams.”



Earlier in the pandemic, AvePoint launched Policies and Insights (PI), the only solution that monitors sensitive content exposure across Microsoft 365 and proactively enforces policies to prevent data oversharing, after identified the need for more secure, compliant collaboration in Teams, AvePoint will continue to build upon its over two decades of innovation.



“As more companies adopt cloud-based tools for digital collaboration, it is becoming increasingly important to understand the data created, and who has access to it,” said Nigel Kilpatrick, Country Manager, UK, Ireland and South Africa, AvePoint. “Even as companies return to hybrid work environments, scaling management, governance and compliance remains vital.”



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