Microsoft Teams has evolved into so much more than a chat/conferencing platform. It’s now the platform on which your organization manages workflows, collaborates on documents, conceptualizes business plans, manages balance sheets, and of course, conducts all its meetings and conferences over. This also means that it now holds business-critical data and workflows way above and beyond water-cooler chats. As your organization’s central collaboration and communication platform, protecting Microsoft Teams data from data loss incidents is a must to ensure it’s business as usual. Moreover, as Microsoft Teams is being increasingly targeted by hackers owing to the lucrative data it holds and its vulnerabilities are being exploited. How can you secure your Microsoft Team’s data when targeted by a ransomware or malware attack? In this blog post, we’ll highlight practical key points to include Microsoft Teams in your disaster recovery and business continuity strategy, to minimize the impact of an incident.
The Importance of a Disaster Recovery Plan
DRP or Disaster Recovery Planning provides specific instructions and procedures for an organization to follow before, during, and after a major disruptive event, thus minimizing any long-term damages or interruptions in business operations. By taking measures in advance to prepare everyone on the team with their individual roles in responding quickly and appropriately to emergencies, your organization can mitigate the damaging aftereffects. A DRP ensures that organizations can maintain business continuity even amidst chaos, with minimal disruption caused by unexpected events. It outlines a timely response to incidents such as natural disasters or cyber threats such as malware and ransomware. This helps minimize downtime and mitigate any risks posed by these events. Furthermore, it enables a business to achieve its desired recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs).
Key Points to Remember: Disaster Recovery for Microsoft Teams
Why it is Essential to Include Microsoft Teams in the Disaster Recovery Plan
- Microsoft Teams holds business-critical data: Microsoft Teams is the underlying communication and collaboration framework for your organization. It is essential to include Microsoft Teams within a Disaster Recovery Plan as it holds much of the business’s critical data. Its features are not only limited to chats and video conferencing, but also include content sharing, storing and collaborating on documents like spreadsheets and presentations, keeping track of conversations in channels, and its integration with Sharepoint online providing access to other sources of business-critical data. Microsoft Teams has evolved beyond just a messaging platform and replaced workflows, processes, teams, groups, and projects – essentially all kinds of collaboration you can think of related to the organization’s operations.
- Microsoft Teams is vulnerable to data loss: You can lose valuable Microsoft Teams data to human error, malicious corruption, malware, ransomware or sync issues. While Microsoft is a stringently secure platform, as per Microsoft’s Shared Responsibility Model, the onus is on you to secure your data from incidents of data loss at your end. It is essential for your organization’s seamless business continuity and disaster recovery in the face of a breach to include the protection and recovery of MS Teams data.
Security and Compliance for Microsoft Teams
To ensure a secure working environment with Microsoft Teams, you must ensure that security and compliance policies includes data from MS Teams. Here are a few steps to get started:
- Include MS Teams data in your data classification model and your IT data inventory.
- Provide your employees with proper training about phishing red flags when it comes to chatting and conferencing in the app.
- A policy should be developed that clearly outlines the privileges and access rights associated with creating Teams or Groups as well as private/public channels which are both integral tools in keeping data secure.
- To ensure the safe storage of data, MS Teams also provides the ability to set data retention policies both via the Compliance Center and by using PowerShell. Get stepwise instructions to setup your Microsoft Teams Retention Policy here.
- Microsoft also provides ways to archive Teams data (channel, team, and chat) also by using the Compliance Center or via PowerShell.
- Lastly, monitoring and auditing tools must be set up to ensure any suspicious activity is quickly identified and addressed.
A well-functioning Disaster Recovery Plan is important for any organization, but it is especially critical for those that rely on Microsoft Teams for their day-to-day operations. Including Microsoft Teams in your Disaster Recovery Plan helps ensure that you will be able to maintain communication and collaboration among your team members even in the event of a disaster.
Business Continuity and Data Recovery for Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams data is as vulnerable to potential risks like malware and ransomware as is any other company data. Apart from protecting your MS Teams data, you also need to have provisions to recover it in case of unexpected incidents. The native data restore options of Microsoft Teams are time-bound, which can cause a delay in restoring data and business continuity loss. Microsoft Teams archive and retention policies ensure that essential data remains intact as demanded by legal and regulatory standards. However, it is inadequate when replacing a backup and recovery system – eDiscovery tools can’t search the content and versioning issues are cumbersome to navigate. Plus, recovering any deleted data takes time-bound efforts which leads to unnecessary storage costs while restoring the information is tedious at best. To avoid such an eventuality, the best practice is to consider cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery for Microsoft Teams. Recommended by top analysts and even Microsoft itself, cloud-to-cloud backup makes sure that all your important data remains safe with no risk of loss or delay in restoring data. Having said that, ensure your backup solution is resilient to ransomware attacks and is audit-compliant.
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