Microsoft Teams: An Introduction to Secure Collaboration

I’m writing this blog from the safety and comfort of home as the wind blows outside my windows in a dangerously cold, real-life snow globe.  Many organizations have the policies and processes in place to allow their staff to work remotely when life requires it.  Tools that keep your team together, even when they’re physically apart, are key to maintaining a tight-knit group that can quickly get on the same page regardless of geography.

Where Have All the Water Coolers Gone?

It has become increasingly rare to find yourself chatting with co-workers around the water cooler.  When is the last time you stopped by the bulletin board in the break room to see what was going on around the office?  It’s probably been a while.  Enter Microsoft Teams – a virtual “water cooler” – your online hub for teamwork.

Microsoft Teams for Collaboration

Teams is a business collaboration tool that helps close the gap in a world where face-to-face interactions are often not possible or practical.  A component of the Office 365 suite, Teams combines elements of Slack and Skype to offer channels for ongoing group discussions with file sharing, one-on-one chat to dig into sensitive data on a project, or video meetings between multiple offices.

Your content, stored in the cloud, can be reviewed any time by any authorized member of your organization.  Powered by Microsoft, O365 and Teams are highly secure.  There are several ways to limit access to different sections of Teams to those who need it.  It is important that thought and planning go into the initial setup and deployment of any new software or application.  Carefully managing the beginning steps will help mitigate challenges that might surface down the road as you adopt more features of a program.

Useful Integrations

There are countless add-ons that integrate with Teams, all conveniently available in an app library.  By clicking the “+” on a channel or in a chat session, you can add a “tab” for your favorite app.  One of my go-to’s is “Polly.”  Polly is a simple way to collect input through an easy-to-create poll that can be made anonymous with the click of a button.

We recently voted using Polly to select the charity for our next Casual for a Cause fundraiser.  We also use Polly every week to decide important things, like where we’ll go for our Friday team lunch.

Please forgive the grammar in this sample of a Polly poll. We also know J&S isn’t a Thai Restaurant.

Reach out to your IT team to learn how to get started with Microsoft Teams.