Why Should You Choose Microsoft Teams Over Stand-alone Meeting Apps?

Sreeraj Vasukuttan

Around this time last year, Slack and Microsoft Teams were still competing directly in the market. But the seamless integration of Calling and Meeting in Teams gave it a unique advantage over Slack, and it was one of the reasons why the daily active users in Teams outgrew that of Slack last year. Earlier this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to a remote everything world, video conferencing changed from an option to an absolute necessity. Teams, due to its Calling and Meeting features, quickly rose in popularity. The daily active users grew from 25 million to 75 million in a matter of 3 months.

The demand for Calls and Meetings in Teams has shifted the competitive landscape. However, the question that you might want to ask yourself before choosing Teams over any other stand-alone app remains the same. “Why should I go for Microsoft 365 and Teams instead of a stand-alone solution?” The simple answer is that it makes sense to take a holistic approach to your unified communications, including security, compliance, and manageability, as decision-making factors. Let’s see how.

More Secure Meetings

Teams meetings have a very complex URL, so the risk of any unknown users bombing your meetings is very low. You can also use the lobby system to ensure that you enable the right attendees. The organizer of a meeting can determine who can and cannot present during a meeting, so you can better control your meeting content. Once you send your meeting invite, you can adjust lobby and presenter settings within Meeting options for any given meeting you’ve organized. Recently, Microsoft updated the default Teams policy to make external users wait in the lobby before joining a Teams meeting to ensure that only the right people are there. When it comes to privacy, Teams notifies users when video recording starts. Teams can also ensure that your employee phone numbers are protected from view for external participants. Meeting chats and notes are also protected from sharing sensitive personal or company information.  

Behind the Scenes Security

Teams, as part of Microsoft 365, is designed with the advanced security that you need in this era of heightened cyber threats. Teams benefits from the security and compliance policies built into SharePoint OneDrive and Exchange in Microsoft 365. A Microsoft 365 admin can extend the endpoint policies to Teams as well to ensure that the data is protected. For example, with Advanced Threat Protection in Microsoft 365, you can block malicious content in the Meeting chat from user access. Utilize Advanced Threat Protection Safe Links (still in preview) and Advanced Threat Protection Safe Attachments to ensure tighter security. Now Azure Sentinel allows real-time threat detection in Teams by hunting in logs and monitoring calls for suspicious activity. Azure Sentinel is Microsoft’s Security Information Event Management (SIEM) in Azure.

Being part of Microsoft 365, Teams has better accessibility to security services in Azure. For example, Teams uses Azure DDoS Services to protect against DDoS Attacks by default. Also, with Azure AD, you can set up multi-factor authentication that secures the Teams environment from phishing attacks. Teams can leverage Windows Virtual Desktop in Azure if your organization needs to deploy Teams in a more secure virtual desktop environment.

Related: Top Benefits of Windows Virtual Desktop on Azure

Managing Security and Compliance

Microsoft Security Center comes with Microsoft 365 Defender Microsoft Extended and Defense and Response (XDR) system for Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 Defender makes it possible for the security analysts in your organization to have a holistic view of your entire modern work infrastructure. It also uses AI for automatic threat detection and remediation. Microsoft 365 Defender makes your meeting and calling environment more secure against sophisticated cyber attacks. With Microsoft 365 you will have access to all the compliance management you need for Teams as well. Microsoft 365 has a compliance manager that will help manage your compliance needs and regulatory requirements. Teams supports more than 90 regulatory standards and laws, including HIPAA, GDPR, FedRAMP, SOC, and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The compliance manager also comes with a new feature called Compliance Score. It scans your compliance measures and produces your compliance score on its dashboard, helping you develop stronger compliance procedures overall.

Related: Understanding the Benefits of Microsoft Threat Protection

Microsoft invests over a billion dollars per year in security research tools and scans 8 trillion security data points per day. Microsoft maps those data points to create a comprehensive security map called Microsoft Security Graph. On top of Microsoft Security Graph, they have built security services across Azure and Microsoft 365. Teams as part of Microsoft 365 is in a unique position to take advantage of all that investment in security. Microsoft 365 is so tightly integrated with Azure that you get access to all these services without having to pay much extra, even with a low-end suite like M365 E3. With a high-end plan like Microsoft 365 E5, you get full access to the entire security and compliance package. A Forrester Survey from 2019 had revealed that “25% of the total value of Microsoft 365 E5 is associated with the solutions within Teams.” Conversely, the ROI of investing in Microsoft Teams comes from the security and compliance set that Microsoft 365 provides around Teams.

Perhaps it takes Microsoft’s entire security stack to grow your modern work infrastructure. Ready to choose Microsoft 365 and Teams? Contact us today, and we can help you begin your Teams journey. If you already have Microsoft 365 and are not sure how to set up Teams to take advantage of the security and compliance tools in it, Microsoft Modern Work and Security Services are there to guide you through the steps.

Sreeraj Vasukuttan is a Technical Marketing Manager at Connection with a passion for technology and marketing. He enjoys writing about cloud, security, and end-user compute. In his free time, he loves watching films, cooking, and traveling with his family.