Five Ways You Should Use Microsoft Teams Today

Five Ways You Should Use Microsoft Teams Today

Since its introduction, Microsoft’s Teams platform has enjoyed widespread success and adoption. However, most organizations are not taking full advantage of all Teams has to offer. Beyond just a tool for hosting meetings, Teams offers so much more!  In this article, you will learn about five specific features in Teams that you should be using today.

Microsoft Teams

Communicate Through Microsoft Teams

Teams’ roots lie in Skype for Business, which served businesses well for almost two decades. However, Microsoft is officially ending all Skype for Business services on July 31, 2021, in favor of using Teams as a communication platform. When you choose to use Teams as a communications platform, you have multiple options for connecting and communicating with others, including internal and external participants. Your Teams-based communication options include:

  • Voice-only calls with individuals and with groups,
  • Video calls with individuals and with groups,
  • One-on-one chats and group chats, and
  • Screen-sharing calls.

Each of these communication options can be scheduled in advance or initiated on-the-fly, providing flexibility when launching some form of communication. Further, Teams offers a “live caption” option that can make your meetings more inclusive for those who are hearing-impaired.

Share Documents And Collaborate In Real-Time

Multi-user, simultaneous access to standard file types such as Excel spreadsheets and Word documents is challenging in traditional environments. Teams can change that! When you store an Excel, Word, PowerPoint, or OneNote document in Teams, you can easily share the file with others. Upon doing so, each person can access and edit the file simultaneously and in real-time. Imagine, for example, multiple team members working collaboratively on the Excel workbook that serves as the foundation for your organization’s budget. Consider how much more efficient it would be to have multiple users editing a PowerPoint presentation simultaneously. Both these scenarios are possible when you store documents in Teams.    

Enable Apps In Microsoft Teams

Although Teams is immensely powerful without any modifications, you can customize it by adding other apps. For instance, suppose you need the ability to execute digital signatures in Teams. If so, you could add the Adobe Sign app into Teams to provide that functionality. Similarly, if you require robust project management features in teams, you can add Zoho Projects to your Teams account. You can choose from over 200 apps that are currently available to integrate with Teams. Each of these apps allows you to extend the functionality of the platform and accommodate almost every need.

Allow External Parties To Join Your Team

One of the commonly asked questions about Teams is “can we use Teams to communicate and collaborate with external parties, such as customers and clients?” The short answer is yes! More specifically, you can configure Teams to allow external access and guest access, two ways of communicating with those outside your organization. When you enable external access (also known as “federation”), you can connect with people in other domains, such as users at a customer/client or vendor location. On the other hand, when you enable guest access, you can add specific persons outside your organization as guest users by using their email address. Note that someone with administrative rights in Teams may need to configure both these options for you.

CLICK HERE to see a detailed comparison of external user access compared to guest access.

Secure Data In Microsoft Teams

As you are aware, data security is one of the most challenging issues facing business professionals today. Consequently, it should be a top-of-mind consideration in virtually every business decision we make, including our choice of technology platforms. Fortunately, this is an area where Teams shines. For example, consider the following security techniques that are available in Teams.

  • Team-wide and organization-wide multi-factor authentication, to reduce the likelihood that unauthorized users will be able to log-in
  • Full encryption of all data stored in Teams
  • Availability of Microsoft’s Advance Threat Protection to proactively look for malicious content and block end-user access to that content
  • Safe Attachments, a Microsoft technology that allows admin users to create policies for handling potentially unsafe attachments that might carry malware

Additionally, the mere fact that Teams will likely reduce dependency on email – a notoriously unsecured medium for exchanging information – will likely boost security also. Further, admins can configure Communication Compliance, Retention, and eDiscovery policies in Teams to reduce risk and ensure long-term availability of data. Similarly, you can enable Data Loss Prevention in Teams to ensure that users do not disclose sensitive information to unauthorized persons. When taking a holistic view of the security features available with Teams, it is easy to conclude that Team offers the potential for much better security than what most organizations are currently able to provide.

Summary

Teams is a component of many Office 365 and Microsoft 365 subscriptions and, accordingly, the number of users with access to Teams continues to grow as more business migrate to Office 365 and Microsoft 365. However, many individuals with access to Teams remain unaware of some of the platform’s better features and use it almost exclusively as a chat-based communication platform. Certainly, Teams offers much more than just chat! If you have access to Teams, consider how you can take advantage of the platform to enhance communications, improve collaboration, and operate more securely. As a bonus, you just might find your personal and organizational productivity begin to skyrocket!

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Microsoft Teams is available in many Office 365 and Microsoft 365 subscription plans. To learn more about Office 365 and Microsoft 365, consider participating in
K2’s Microsoft Office 365 – All The Things You Need To Know.

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