Five Benefits of Provisioning For Microsoft Teams

By Aurora Bucaj and the Prosperoware Team

In the past year and a half, organizations shifted to remote or hybrid work formats. As a result, we have seen increased reliance on collaboration systems such as Microsoft Teams. Only in over a year, Teams has experienced immense growth, going from 20 million users in November 2019 to over 145 million daily users, a more than 400% increase.

Microsoft Teams enhances productivity and collaboration for projects, relationships, matters, engagements — whatever you may call them — that organizations take on. Due to its many collaboration features, Teams is enabling the next shift — hybrid work — expected to become the new norm for organizations globally.

Despite its growth, Teams faces several limitations, especially relating to data chaos and governance. Without logical places for users to save data, they will end up placing it wherever they want to. They might create several Teams or Channels for the same project, with the naming conventions and structures that work best for them. This practice creates chaos, making it difficult for users to locate data and risk management professionals to properly secure and minimize it.

The best way for organizations to tackle these issues is through provisioning across collaboration systems with standardized naming conventions and folder templates. Here are 5 benefits of provisioning for Microsoft Teams.

Enhanced Efficiency & Consistency in Provisioning

Most organizations start creating Teams and Channels for a project manually. Depending on its complexity, this could take up to 15 to 30 minutes. For organizations that work across hundreds or thousands of projects/matters per year, this manual labor is time-consuming, costly, and prone to privacy & cybersecurity risk.

Provisioning for Teams and other collaboration systems addresses this challenge. With the right technology, organizations can initiate projects/matters to be created across systems in only a few clicks with templates and standard names.

Also, if an organization has a template in the DMS through which they provision projects/matters of a certain type, they can carry it over to Teams. Having a tab linked to the appropriate workspace in the DMS is also helpful. This reduces the manual time needed to provision Teams, Channels, tabs, etc., ensures structural consistency, and reduces human error.

Quick Data Location through Metadata

In general, projects or matters in the DMS have IDs to make it easier to identify, manage, and govern. But when creating Teams and Channels, organizations cannot assign such numbers, making it difficult to link data between systems and even more challenging to locate them. Content can get quickly misplaced, exposing the organization to privacy and cybersecurity risk. On top of that, Teams offers limited metadata, so users do not have advanced search and filter capabilities, which risk management teams have to spend time checking each document to understand the context and secure it.

Through provisioning, organizations can integrate source systems such as HRIS, CRM, Time & Billing, Portfolio Management Systems, and more, and consistently create Teams, Channels, tabs, workspaces, folders, users, and more, in any collaboration system, like Teams and the DMS.

Organizations can provision with standardized naming conventions, adding the project or matter ID in every provisioned item, and adding folder templates for consistent governance. With rich custom metadata, organizations enable content location and context understanding, mitigating data chaos and reducing risks related to privacy & cybersecurity.

Team Ownership

On MS Teams, manual provisioning makes an employee a Team owner, presenting several challenges, such as:

  • The employee can change security in violation with ethical walls and outside counsel guidelines
  • If the employee leaves the organization, the Team is orphaned

Provisioning eliminates this problem by making a System Account the Team owner. Consequently, organizations would also gain the ability to set any geo-location to the Team, complying with client requirements.

Reduced Risk with Governance Across Systems

Maintaining governance across all systems of records is challenging for organizations. When users are left on their own devices, they will save data on their personal drives and forget their location. This practice leads to data chaos and privacy challenges. On MS Teams, the privacy issues go a step further when team owners are able to add users, whether internal or external, to Teams and Channels without governance. In turn, internal sensitive data could be exposed to those who do not need to know.

That is why, organizations should ensure that sensitive information is protected in Microsoft Teams as well as across other collaboration systems.

Provisioning powers governance.

With provisioning across systems, organizations can integrate Teams with their DMS, so that both the DMS workspaces and Teams have the same structure. Users will know where to save data, while risk management teams can apply consistent security on a Zero-Trust basis. If a user needs to collaborate on a document in Teams with a client, supplier, or vendor, they can do so successfully without the risk of inappropriate access to sensitive, internal documents.

Provisioning in this way can also enable organizations to integrate with ethical wall systems, and carry over their existing ethical walls or information barriers across systems, including the DMS and Teams.

Ability to Efficiently Transfer Data on Client Request

Organizations are increasingly required to transfer data to their clients or move it across systems. Manually downloading files from Teams, the DMS, and other systems is tedious and time-consuming. There is also an increased risk that an administrator will download the wrong file and send sensitive information to an external stakeholder.

But, when projects or matters are provisioned in a consistent and structured way in Teams, the DMS, and other systems with rich custom metadata, location and transfer of data becomes easy.

When the Team and Channels are related to a particular project/matter in the DMS, the risk management team can easily identify appropriate content for transfer to a client, gaining a comprehensive view of what data needs to be sent and the ability to automatically transfer it. This practice enables organizations to avoid destructive accidents where sensitive data is shared with the wrong party and improving efficiency.

How Prosperoware Helps

Prosperoware CAM is a Software-as-a-Service platform (SaaS) for adoption and governance of collaboration systems. It allows organizations to provision, classify, protect, move, and minimize data, mitigating data chaos and reducing risks related to privacy & cybersecurity.

CAM integrates with Microsoft 365 (Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online, OneDrive, OneNote, Planner, Lists), iManage, NetDocuments, HighQ, and more to come.

CAM enables organizations to create logical locations for users to place data and provides rich custom metadata capabilities to empower users to locate data and risk management teams to understand context so they can apply the right security and minimization policies.

Here is what CAM can do for you:

  • Provisioning of workspaces, Teams, Channels, Lists, Users & Groups, and folders from Project Portfolio Management, CRM etc., or through a human workflow using readily available templates.
  • Rich, custom metadata for project or document context.
  • Unified project directory for content location for end users and risk management teams.
  • Provision automatically or on-demand internal & external users, manage permissions across collaboration systems, and integrate with leading ethical wall systems.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) with activity monitoring and bulk security & metadata changes.
  • Minimize data by setting automatic data disposition policies or apply litigation hold.

A thought leading SaaS company providing last-mile solutions for legal and financial clients. Reach out to learn more about our products CAM and Umbria.