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Microsoft Teams users sharing business-critical information
Tue, 11th Oct 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

New research has revealed security and backup flaws within the Microsoft Teams platform.

Cybersecurity software provider Hornetsecurity has found an urgent need for greater backup for Microsoft Teams, with nearly half of users (45%) sending confidential and critical information frequently via the platform.

Research commissioned by the company highlights the often-overlooked need for Teams backup and security, as internal business communications over chat are on the rise, reaching the same levels as communication via email. The research was conducted by techconsult, an established German IT research and analyst firm.

User behaviours on Teams are ripe for data loss

Teams User Chat (direct) messaging is the preferred form of business communication over Teams Channel Conversations for 90% of respondents, and more than 41% of people send a minimum of 10 User Chat messages a day. Just over a quarter of all messages (26%) are written in Teams Group Channel Conversations, showing communication is unevenly spread across the platform.

Nearly half (45%) of respondents frequently share confidential and sensitive information via Teams with 51% often sending business-critical documents and data. Users tend to send such information more when they use personal devices; 51% of those on a personal device send restricted and confidential data, compared to 29% of people on a work device.

It is easy to make mistakes

The survey also found that 48% of all respondents sent messages on Teams they should not have. Of this group, 88% had been trained in the use of collaboration solutions, highlighting the need for increased and improved training on how to use Teams and the risks of sending sensitive data.

Urgent need for companies to scrutinise Teams backup, security and training

More than half of respondents (56%) see employee training and awareness as the primary approach to reducing cybersecurity risks. However, with 89% of respondents writing more User Chat messages than Group Channel Conversations, it is important to use a backup solution that protects all collaborative features on Teams.

Daniel Hofmann, chief executive officer at Hornetsecurity, says the increasing use of chat services has changed the way many now conduct work. 

"With this change, the risk of data loss has unfortunately increased," he says. 

"Companies must have adequate safeguards in place to protect and secure business data. Otherwise, they run the risk of productivity, financial and data loss.

"This is because Microsoft does not provide robust protection of data shared via Teams - so beyond the cybersecurity vulnerabilities, organisations must ensure information and files shared across the platform are backed up in a secure, responsible way," Hofmann says. 

"This is why we are proud to offer Hornetsecurity's 365 Total Backup, the only major third-party backup provider to protect the full range of Teams communications, from User Chats to Group Channel Conversations."