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7 tips for safe online meetings and collaboration with Microsoft Teams

Remote and hybrid work has become the new norm for many employees across the globe as day-to-day collaboration continues to be accomplished virtually. With this shift to online communication, how can you ensure that you’re collaborating safely? 

Queue Microsoft Teams! Whether you’re hosting virtual meetings, carrying out daily group and 1:1 chat, sharing documents, or coauthoring in a document in real-time – Teams enables safe and secure collaboration! 

Tip 1: Control who can join your Microsoft Teams meetings directly and present 

Meeting organizers can change participant settings for a specific meeting through the Meeting options web page. In Teams, go to your Calendar, select a meeting, and then select Meeting options. From here you can determine settings like who needs to be admitted to the meeting and who can bypass the lobby to join it directly. Additionally, you can decide which participants are able to join with the presenter role to present out content and who should join as standard attendees. Another helpful control for large meetings is the ability to prevent attendees from unmuting themselves – this is particularly useful when the meeting will be led by specific participants while the rest of the audience will be listening in. Note that your organization controls the default participant settings. 

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/videoplayer/embed/RE4MfGE?autoplay=false

Tip 2: Minimize Teams meeting disruptions by muting individual or all meeting attendees 

In order to prevent meeting disruptions, intentional or accidental, as a meeting organizer you have the ability to mute individual attendees or all meeting attendees. If an attendee happens to leave their microphone unmuted while being away, you can easily mute that participant from the participant pane. During large meetings led by designated speakers, such as a town hall or lecture, the ability to mute all attendees ensures your presenters won’t be accidentally interrupted. 

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/videoplayer/embed/RE4MfGF?autoplay=false

Tip 3: Determine who can present content or share their screen in your Teams meeting 

As the meeting organizer, you can determine who has the ability to present out content or share their screen within the meeting. Prior to the meeting start, we discussed above how this can be accomplished via Meeting options. Once your meeting has begun, you can select a participant via the participant pane to determine whether they have the presenter role or are a standard attendee. This can be especially useful when you have outside participants attending your meeting who may only need the presenter role temporarily. 

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/videoplayer/embed/RE4MjIm?autoplay=false

Tip 4: End your Teams meeting for everyone in attendance at once 

As the meeting organizer, sometimes the meeting needs to end at your discretion without allowing participants to remain. Ending a meeting for all attendees is often applicable in large-meeting settings such as a town hall, lecture, or webinar class to ensure attendees don’t remain in the meeting. Once a meeting has wrapped up, instead of clicking Leave, select the dropdown located next to it and click End Meeting. You can also access this by going into your meeting controls, click more options (…) , and select End Meeting. This will end and close the meeting for everyone in attendance. 

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/videoplayer/embed/RE4MfGG?autoplay=false

Tip 5: Create a team with increased security 

If any of the content stored or discussed within the team may be considered business sensitive, such as financial details or classified project information, it’s best practice to apply increased protections to that team to ensure the content security. This can be accomplished by creating a new team and applying an IT-created sensitivity label. When applying a sensitivity label to your team, it automatically applies the configured protections to the team. 

When creating a new team, on the sensitivity and privacy pane select the dropdown under Sensitivity to select an IT-created sensitivity label to apply to the team. As a reminder, it’s always best to check with your organization or IT department on how sensitive business information should be stored. 

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/videoplayer/embed/RE4MfGQ?autoplay=false

Tip 6: Create a private channel 

Sometimes you need to share sensitive information within a team to specified team members only, such as project details or strategic planning, that doesn’t require holistic team protection. Rather than creating a new team, you can create a private channel within an existing team that is only accessible to designated members. This is a great way to provide a security layer to protect sensitive business information without creating a new team. 

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 7 tips for safe online meetings and collaboration with Microsoft Teams

To create a private channel, go to the team and choose more options (…) and select Add channel. After providing a name and description, under Privacy select the dropdown arrow to specify the channel is Private – Accessible only to a specific group of people within the team. Once created, you can add additional private channel owners and up to 250 members. As a reminder, it’s always best to check with your organization or IT department on how sensitive business information should be stored. 

Tip 7: Help protect sensitive data in Teams 

Microsoft Teams supports data protection policies to help protect sensitive information from being accidentally or inadvertently shared. When collaborating in a Teams 1:1 or channel chat, you may have a message return as blocked if that message contains information that meets your organization’s sensitive information policy. 

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 7 tips for safe online meetings and collaboration with Microsoft Teams

If your message is blocked, within that blocked message you may see a clickable link that says What can I do? If you click that link, a helpfully policy tip created by your organization will display educating you on why content within that message is considered business sensitive. Policy tips are designed to help the sender understand why certain content is considered business sensitive or is best practice not to share. 

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/videoplayer/embed/RE4MfH9?autoplay=false

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/videoplayer/embed/RE4McRq?autoplay=false

We hope that these safe online collaboration tips will help you remain productive while having the confidence you’re remaining secure. 

The best tools for improving productivity at the enterprise level

In Forrester’s introduction to their Enterprise Collaboration Playbook, it states that “many of today’s collaboration technology initiatives fall well short of their transformational potential.” 

While many enterprises view collaboration as a critical tool, most are at an early stage of learning how to implement it effectively. 

That’s why we’ve put together 8 tips you can use to achieve more value from your collaboration initiatives.

Putting collaboration into perspective

A lasting collaboration platform requires careful implementation. But is it worth it? 

Yes – especially when you consider the following statistics:

  • Over half of workers (58%) waste approximately one hour per day looking for information
  • Over 80% of workers, educators, and executives blame workplace failures on a lack of collaboration
  • In an average 40-hour work week, workers spend 28 hours writing emails, searching and coordinating with others within their organization
  • On average, workers waste six weeks per year searching for lost documents

These frightening statistics make it obvious that acquiring and ensuring the adoption of collaboration tools is a vital part of maintaining your enterprise’s competitive advantage. 

The issues discussed below will help you get the most from collaboration tools.

1. Design collaboration tools around real-world requirements

Start by finding out how collaboration can streamline business processes in your enterprise. When you can communicate how collaboration will reduce effort and increase access to information, you’ll be able to pinpoint the specific collaboration strategies you need to develop. In short, make sure that you align proposed collaboration tools with your business needs.

2. Communicate your strategies

Employees need to understand the strategy driving business goals such as collaboration. With that information, they feel more comfortable about using the collaboration tools and know what level of information they can share using the tools.

“70% of employees believe that collaboration platforms are changing their workplace interactions.”

Deloitte

3. Communicate appropriate collaboration behavior

When management defines their expectations about how collaboration will work, employees will follow their lead. Provide examples of successful collaborations. If you’re not sure how to do that, take the time to create those scenarios.

Also, keep in mind that collaboration isn’t just about new technology. 

Collaboration will change the way that employees work and who they work with. Without a vision of what collaboration means, individual employees must go through their own learning curve. Not only that, but they may come to different conclusions about how to use collaboration tools, which will cause frustration and actually reduce productivity.

4. Get employee input

As IT rolls out collaboration tools, get input from employees. Find out if the tools are helping them, making their work easier, helping them to reduce wasted time, and more. Great initial use of collaboration tools is to use them to collaborate with employees to fine-tune a collaboration platform.

5. Make collaboration tools part of business processes

This is another way to help your employees incorporate communication tools into their workflow. Employees set adrift with collaboration tools are typically too close to their workflow to identify accurately all the places where collaboration would be a benefit.

Your collaboration strategy needs to include updating processes and procedures to include the use of collaboration tools. Especially in the early stages, this will give employees the roadmap they need to integrate those tools into their daily activities.

6. Promote closer team relationships

Your employees coordinate their activities now, even if they aren’t using technology to do it. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re functioning as a team of collaborators. During implementation, arrange for people who will be collaborating using technology to meet. Have each person explain their role in the process.

“Gaining a reluctant acceptance to participate [in collaboration efforts] can be a definite challenge for your business.”

Forbes

Meetings like that usually experience one or more situations where someone says something like, “Ah, so that’s why you’re always bugging me for the status update report!” When team members appreciate the role each person plays, they’re much more likely to come together as collaborators.

7. Rethink departmental boundaries

Collaboration technology will make it possible to accomplish goals in different ways, in addition to streamlining existing processes. As your enterprise moves toward a new mindset about the best way to get things done, you may find that you need new ways to locate talent internally. You may also find that you’re using that talent in different ways.

For example, an analyst in accounting traditionally spends their time working within the accounting department. However, if there is a large call for that type of expertise to get projects completed more quickly, you may need to change your mindset.

Perhaps you need to assign an analyst as a corporate resource, which will free them to contribute to a variety of teams as part of their process. It may end up making more sense to do that rather than having the core team bring the project to a specific level of completion, and then “turn it over” to the accounting department for their input.

8. Monitor adoption and results

Monitoring adoption and results need to happen at an enterprise level. You need to know:

  • If employees are using collaboration technology effectively
  • If the results you predicted in your business case are realized

Reaching a seamless integration of collaboration technology into your work environment will require continuous improvement. You’ll need regular feedback on the results of the project in order to drive that improvement.

Communication platforms for the enterprise

Corporate agility is a crucial component of remaining competitive in today’s business environment. Enterprise collaboration can help your organization keep or improve that competitive edge. That should put collaboration platforms and technology and their use at the top of your priority list.

And no worries –ISG can help you with the heavy lifting. We design, deliver and operate our voice and collaboration platform services and solutions with care.

  • Custom business communication security infrastructure
  • Voice, video, and data integrations on custom platforms
  • Full integration of collaboration applications with any device, anytime, anywhere
  • Solution design and implementation
  • 24/7/365 Managed Services
  • Real people – local – ready to help!

With our team of highly certified professionals, you’ll have all the support you need, at all hours of the day.

Call us today to find learn more about ISG’s ability to help you build the ultimate enterprise collaboration platform.