Effective teams need effective tools to help them communicate and collaborate even when working from remote locations.
In the past, organizations relied on a patchwork of applications, traditional, and IP telephony to keep information flowing smoothly, but this approach doesn’t reflect the fast-paced and highly interconnected nature of modern business. That’s where team collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams come in.
Microsoft Teams is intended to serve as a centralized hub for teamwork, bringing together everything employees need to stay on the same page and be as productive as possible. It offers many important benefits for both organizations and end-users, which is why it now has 115 million daily active users.
Bringing Team Members Together
The most important benefit of Microsoft Teams is its ability to bring team members together—regardless of the geographical distance between them—by combining persistent instant messaging with voice and video chat, meetings, screen sharing, and collaborative document editing, among other things.
Unlike Skype and other similar general-purpose communication tools, Microsoft Teams reflects how real teams are organized. A single employee can be invited to join multiple teams within the team software, and each of these teams can create public and private channels, where employees can discuss specific projects, share files, and create polls.
Employees from different teams can instantly join a video conference and enjoy a secure meeting experience with high-quality audio and video. Because Microsoft Teams is a cross-platform team collaboration software platform, attendees don’t have to sit in front of their Windows computers. They can just as easily join from macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, or using a dedicated meeting device from a certified partner, including Logitech, Xrestron, Polycom, Lenovo, HP, and Yealink.
In the real-world, remote employees can’t always join a meeting exactly on time, and Microsoft Teams addresses this problem with AI technology and features like automatic meeting transcription, which makes it possible to play back meetings and search for important discussion items in the transcript.
Securing Online Communication
Attacks on remote employees are growing in number and sophistication. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, security researchers have been warning the public about a rise in phishing scams, ransomware attacks, and other serious threats.
“People working from the office usually have a number of security layers protecting them, which makes it more difficult to reach the potential victims,” said Avast Security Evangelist Luis Corrons. “However, working from home, all those layers are nonexistent, and cybercriminals try to take advantage of it.”
That’s why it’s paramount to equip remote employees with team software that’s designed from the ground up with security and compliance in mind, and Microsoft Teams meets this requirement with minimal configuration required.
All files and links shared by team members are automatically scanned and discarded if they contain malware. Data is protected with state-of-the-art encryption both in transit and at rest, ensuring that malicious third parties can’t capture the online activity of remote employees working from public places.
Because Microsoft Teams uses ISO 27001, ISO 27018, SSAE18 SOC 1 and SOC 2, HIPAA, and EU Model Clauses (EUMC) compliance standards, even organizations in heavily regulated industries can take advantage of it without compromising their overall cybersecurity posture.
Making It Easy to Get Started
Microsoft Teams is a freemium team collaboration platform that makes it very easy for organizations of all sizes to start using it. Organizations that don’t have an active Microsoft 365 subscription can try it for free with a limited number of users, limited file storage sizes, and certain features not being available.
The least expensive paid plan that includes Microsoft Teams is called Microsoft 365 Business Basic, and it costs $5.00 per user per month with an annual commitment. A tier above it is the Microsoft 365 Business Standard plan ($12.50 per user per month with an annual commitment), which adds access to desktop versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, and business apps like Bookings and MileIQ.
At BCA, we’ve had many opportunities to see how much organizations can benefit from using Microsoft Teams as their centralized hub for team communication and collaboration. If you would like to experience these benefits yourself, contact us, and we’ll help you get started.