Securing Microsoft Teams for Matter-Based Collaboration
In response to remote and hybrid work environments brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of professionals have implemented Microsoft Teams to help connect, collaborate, and easily share information with others, both internally and externally. Although the platform offers multiple benefits, most legal firms find that Microsoft Teams doesn’t meet all their requirements, especially around security and governance.
During the product briefing, “The Keys to Securing Microsoft Teams for Matter-Based Collaboration,” panelists discussed how implementing Intapp Workspaces and Intapp Walls can bridge this gap by providing stronger security and improve legal firms’ Microsoft Teams investment.
“The two solutions together will give you the best the best level of functionality and flexibility,” said Colleen Gifford, Solutions Advisory Director at Intapp. With Intapp Workspaces and Intapp Walls, your firm can take advantages of a centralized, secure, and engagement-centric Microsoft Teams experience.
Examining the Strengths and Weaknesses of Microsoft Teams
Fergus Wilson, Senior Director of Engineering at Intapp, began the product briefing by reviewing the many benefits Microsoft Teams offers firms, including helping to build a connected firm and promoting efficiency. “Using Microsoft Teams … gives you access to all the applications you need to complete a task without [having to switch] between applications,” he explained. Users can easily access and manage files, communicate with team members, and collaborate in real time within the Microsoft Office 365 platform.
Unfortunately for legal firms, Microsoft Teams doesn’t offer out-of-the-box governance and automation, nor ethical walls, DMS, and PMS integrations. The platform also lets all users create teams and add external members, which can lead to serious security and governance problems.
“If lots of people are creating teams, you have no visibility into what those teams are about or who’s got access to the information in those teams,” Wilson explained. “You don’t know whether people are sharing information they shouldn’t be sharing, or whether there are documents living outside your systems of record.”
To help ensure appropriate security when creating teams, Wilson suggested firms use the following checklist:
- What’s the team’s purpose? Is it administrative (practice group, IT, risk), client or matter, or social?
- Is team collaboration internal or external?
- For how long should this team exist?
- What information should be held within the team?
- Who’s responsible for the team?
- Who should — or should not — be a member of the team?
Creating and Managing Teams with Intapp Workspaces
To help create secure and intentional groups within Microsoft Teams, firms should implement Intapp Workspaces, part of the OnePlace Collaboration & Content suite. “Intapp Workspaces [lets you] create teams and properly manage the lifecycle of those teams [with a] unified and proper approach,” Wilson said. “We can track activity around teams to manage the lifecycle and help with the information governance and the security of the team.”
As Wilson demonstrated Intapp Workspaces, he revealed how users can select specific templates when creating various types of teams, including teams for business development, practice groups, internal groups, social chat, or general collaboration. Once the team creator selects the template, they must fill out the team’s name, purpose, owner(s), and any other key information the firm requires.
Firms can also limit who can create teams, and set rules around adding team members. Wilson gave the example of a matter-based team, showing how Intapp Workspaces doesn’t allow users to add members who aren’t included within confidentiality walls. Firms that use this feature simplify the tasks of keeping private information secure and maintaining compliance standards.
Enhancing Security with Intapp Walls
In addition to Intapp Workspaces, firms can also invest in Intapp Walls — part of the OnePlace Risk & Compliance suite — to further secure and protect their sensitive information. “Intapp Walls provides centralized control of information security across your firm and all its systems,” said Wilson. He revealed how the software provides configuration options for external users, letting users create teams specifically for collaborating and sharing appropriate information with outside entities.
Austin Chambers, Chief Officer of Technology at Inflection IT, demonstrated Intapp Walls, explaining: “The Intapp Walls extension for Microsoft Teams can be used to ensure that anyone who shouldn’t be on a team is removed. Intapp Walls also knows how to associate a given client or matter with a given Microsoft Team.”
Intapp Walls also lets firms store information within secure Microsoft SharePoint directories. “Even if a person is removed from a Microsoft Teams group, they may still have access to the underlying files through SharePoint,” Chambers explained. Maintaining secure SharePoint file structures ensures that only those with proper permissions can access the data, regardless of whether they once were part of a specific team.
By using both Intapp Workspaces and Intapp Walls, law firms can make the most of their Microsoft Teams investment and ensure better security, improve collaboration, and build a connected firm.
Watch the full recording of the product briefing and learn how Intapp Workspaces and Intapp Walls can improve your firm’s Microsoft Teams experience.
To learn more about Intapp Workspaces and Intapp Walls, schedule a demo.