Microsoft Teams (Free Version) – Implications for your small business

Every business has had to adapt to the need for remote communication and collaboration. In a scramble many businesses started using Microsoft Teams Free. This is available to anyone with a free Microsoft account or paid Microsoft 365 account.

How does it work?

Microsoft Teams offers Chat, Video Conferencing, Calendar and Calls and can be run on any Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android device.  Any user can become a team owner by creating a team and inviting others to join. This person is also the administrator of the Team with limited abilities. In the free version of MS Teams the Administrator can only add or remove users and give or deny the ability to add guest users. Each team has full access to all of the data on that teams public channels including chat, meeting content and shared files. With the ability to add up to 500,000 users, the administration of so many users can get out of hand quickly!

Potential Risks

When users are given the ability to add additional Guest users, there are no restrictions or vetting of the guest access privileges which means that Guests have full access to anything that is shared in that team.

Guests can also share data and add channels. This could lead to potential malware being brought into your systems.  Microsoft Teams is completely in the cloud. There is no antivirus software included. This opens the risk of hackers and malware being introduced, potentially exposing sensitive data.

Microsoft Teams (free version) comes with 2GB of data per user and 10GB of shared storage. Since this is rather limited, many companies find themselves upgrading to the paid version in order to be productive. Furthermore, Microsoft does not guarantee uptime on the free version. Users have reported members being dropped from meetings, slow laggy performance, not being able to download or open documents and issues with the group chat not functioning causing loss of productivity. In a work from home environment this can be a significant hindrance to a business that deals with time sensitive documents and deadlines.

Triella recommends using paid version for business use

Upgrading to Microsoft 365 (any paid version includes Teams) allows for users to be controlled in Microsoft Azure Active Directory. It also adds security using two factor authentication and allows integration with Share Point, OneDrive and Exchange. This allows for control over users, policies and security settings to ensure your business is protected and your data properly secured. Microsoft also guarantees 99.9% uptime with unlimited users in the Enterprise version and 1TB of storage per user.

Triella can help you configure your Office 365 environment to achieve greater productivity and high level of security when using Teams. Call us now to get started at 647.426.1004 x227

Tammy Malone is a Client Support Specialist at Triella.  We are a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium-sized firms. Tammy can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to our blog page. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Webroot Reseller.

© 2021 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

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