We’ve been talking about Microsoft Teams, and in our last post we provided some planning and implementation tips for maximizing the success of a Teams roll-out. Sure, Teams is intuitive and easy to use, but it can also have a big impact on organizational processes. It’s important to understand how various groups collaborate and help them use Teams to their best advantage.
You also need to make policy decisions and develop procedures for users to follow. Because Teams is so easy to use, it can quickly sprawl into a mess of channels and content that is redundant and disorganized. Security is also a concern. We touched on this briefly in our last post but it deserves further analysis.
At the heart of this issue is a single question: Should end-users be allowed to create teams? The knee-jerk reaction from IT leaders might be a quick and resounding “no,” particularly if the organization has been using SharePoint. Many organizations have well-established processes for SharePoint governance: An end-user requests a new SharePoint site or file share, IT reviews the request and, if it’s approved, handles the provisioning.
There are good and valid reasons for these processes. One is cost — every time you add on to an on-premises SharePoint implementation there’s the potential for increased hardware and operational costs. IT has to ensure that service level agreements (SLA) are met and that there’s adequate data protection and redundancy. The numbers may be small for any particular request but they can add up if not controlled.
But the bigger issues are related to the data itself. Without proper governance you wind up with redundant content that not only wastes resources but creates confusion. Users can no longer feel confident that a particular document is accurate and up-to-date. In fact, it’s easy to end up with dormant sites and file shares filled with obsolete content that no one is responsible for.
All of this leads to a poor search experience. File-naming conventions aren’t followed so users have to plow through all of that redundant and obsolete content to try to find what they’re looking for. It also brings legal and regulatory compliance concerns because content isn’t reviewed, archived and/or disposed of.
Do these same concerns apply to Teams?
They do, but Office 365 includes a number of capabilities that make it possible to allow users to create teams while still establishing effective governance:
- By applying the Office 365 Groups naming policy feature to Teams, you can automatically add the user’s department, location, etc. as a prefix or suffix to the team name. You can also use this feature to prevent users from incorporating words associated with authoritative content sources.
- The Office 365 expiration policy feature enables IT to define an expiration date for teams. The team owner will be required to verify that the team is still being used or it will be disposed of.
- Data governance policies can be used to define how long information should be retained for legal or compliance purposes. In addition, the Office 365 Compliance Manager helps you assess your compliance controls and offers suggestions for filling any gaps.
- Office 265 Data Loss Prevention and Azure Information Protection enable you to apply policy-based controls that prevent users from sharing sensitive information.
Written and composed by one of our Senior Managing Partner, Steve Soper