Microsoft defines the modern workplace as being able to work securely from anywhere on any device using tools that enhance the quality and effectiveness of your work. This is something we’re going to see as more important now than ever to help drive growth in small and medium-sized businesses. According to Upwork, six times as many small businesses agree that dynamic team structures will become the norm, meaning a team of workers who may work full-time in an office, part-time in an office, part-time remote, or full-time remote. These teams could also be made of employees across the globe. Microsoft Teams has everything an organization needs, no matter its size, to facilitate these dynamic team workspaces.
File Storage and Security
To help with security for these dynamic teams, many organizations currently use solutions such as, a VPN to access on-premise file servers or a shared environment like a remote desktop server or Citrix Workspace environment. However, you generally don’t want to give vendors or contractors access to these VPN environments. While they may need access to some resources, organizations need to be able to prevent the external third parties from accessing everything.
File storage in Teams is built on top of Microsoft SharePoint. SharePoint has been around since 2001, and Microsoft has spent two decades fine-tuning and adding new ways for you to work with it. Because of this, you’re able to access your files either from the Teams app or via the browser like you can in SharePoint Online right now.
With Teams, you can organize your files any way you wish. You could organize them based on a department team, project team, or any other group of people.
You can get more granular with your file access by introducing a channel, which is underneath a team A team can have as many channels as you need. Channels can be public so that all members of a team also have access to that channel, or you can have private channels, which can take some members of the team and only give them access to that private channel where additional file storage and conversation can happen.
Real-time collaboration and file updates
By having your files in a team, you have the ability to simultaneously collaborate on files with colleagues in real time. You no longer have to worry about checking a file in and out like you may be doing with SharePoint, or emailing files back and forth. When you’re emailing files back and forth you often end up with 10 different versions of a file floating around. No one is completely sure that they have the most current one. Conversely, in Teams, everyone that has access to that file knows they’re working on the most recent version of it.
Dynamic Team Meetings and Chats
Chats in Teams can be one-to-one, as a private message, or in a group chat. You can also have conversation threads that occur directly within a team. Regardless of what kind of chat it is, all your chat history is searchable from one location. So, you can easily search your chat history to recall a past conversation.
You can also use mentions within chats, which are really useful for getting someone’s attention if they might not have that chat active in the forefront. When used in a group conversation, you can keep things in context and address someone directly by mentioning them in your question.
With these chat features, many clients who have implemented Teams have commented that thanks to Teams, everyone has significantly cut down on the number of emails going back and forth.
Besides being able to chat passively via text, you can also use Teams to actively meet with both internal and external people. Of course, you can do video meetings, but you can also host traditional audio conferencing meetings, which allow for anyone to dial in from a PSTN number on a traditional phone system or from a cell phone. Meetings can even be a combination of video and phone conferencing. In addition, all meetings can be recorded for sharing at a later date.
Meetings also have a text chat function, which gives users the ability to share files that are being discussed in their meetings. Attendees can open that file and actively collaborate on it during the meeting. It really helps make that remote experience feel a lot more personal, similar to if everyone was gathered around a table in a conference room.
Phone Calls via Teams
Microsoft Teams also includes a full modern phone system, which has things like auto attendants and call queues. You can even set up an intelligent call tree that can automate the routing of calls. Not to mention, it has everything else one would expect from a typical phone system, such as cloud voicemail, visual voicemail, call transfers, forwarding to voicemail, and forwarding to another phone number.
Managing the phone system is very simple as well. It has a nice central admin center where you can do things like quickly acquire new numbers or assign your existing numbers to a new user.
Access Teams Anywhere and Everywhere
Microsoft has a Teams desktop client available for both Windows and macOS, and mobile apps on iOS and Android. There’s also a web-based app. All of these versions of Teams have a very consistent layout, which makes for a seamless transition between any of them.
When it comes to features, the mobile clients are not limiting your ability to work. If anything, they are enhancing it. All of the things previously mentioned here—chats, notifications, files, meetings—you can do from the mobile client. This includes pulling up files on the go, such as Word or Excel documents, and editing them right from your mobile device.
You can join meetings and have the option to do video, participate in the chat in the meeting, and share files, including files that may be saved locally on the mobile device itself. You can even share the screen of your mobile device. Microsoft has really worked hard to make the mobile app one-to-one with desktop and web clients.
The mobile app even includes the Teams phone system functionality, including access to contacts and voicemail. This way, employees will never have to feel like they need to give out their personal cell phone numbers. In addition, they’ll never miss a phone call when they’re out of the office.
Teams in Conference Rooms
Besides mobile devices, you can also integrate Teams in your conference rooms. Microsoft designed the Microsoft Teams room systems specifically for conference rooms. All it takes is combining some Teams-certified devices, such as a cameras, a hub unit to compute, and a display that brings everything together, or you can get a full room system package. If you have a fresh conference room that you’re setting up, I’d recommend going with one of the full room system packages. Options are available for all sizes of conference rooms.
Teams brings many advanced built-in security features with it. We’ve already mentioned that users can limit file-sharing capabilities with team members and external users. Administrators can also limit access capabilities for internal users not using a corporate device.
This latter point is a typical security concern for most IT departments. When an employee is using a personal device, it’s possible that it’s not as secure as a corporate device would be. Administrators can restrict the ability to download or print files locally, requiring these users to only access the files via the browser. This greatly reduces the likelihood of a data leak or a cyber attack from that employee’s device.
Teams also allows for additional security layers, such as multifactor authentication and security alerts. Your IT staff can automatically monitor specific events, such as an unusual amount of files being deleted or downloaded, which might indicate a data breach or data leak.
Data Loss Prevention
Another security feature is data loss prevention. By using AI and intelligent learning, Teams can identify the type of information you need restricted. For example, if files stored in Teams contain credit card numbers, the IT team can set restrictions on these files. Such as alerting the IT staff about the file or preventing users from saving that file to certain locations and/or sharing it.
Have any questions about how Microsoft Teams can innovate your dynamic team workspaces? Please reach out to one of our experts at any time!