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Microsoft Teams Surveillance: Protecting Online Collaboration Tools from Potential Abuse is Vital in the New Normal

It is no secret that video-based meetings and online workspace collaboration have really come into their own over the last 12 months…

Leading the pack with 75M daily users is Microsoft Teams that have proven that online business collaboration and interaction are both practical and reliable. However, there have been concerns in the regulated finance sector that these interactions are not adequately surveilled in the same way as on-premises working. This is exactly why Shield was one of the first compliance platforms to provide full surveillance, as well as record and search of Microsoft Teams interactions, providing the ability to extract, review and analyze specific conversations to assist with any investigation process.

Microsoft Teams Surveillance

We Predicted the Pandemic!

Ok, maybe that’s not entirely true but whilst most businesses have had to react quickly to the changes brought about by pandemic restrictions, Shield had already foreseen a greater reliance on online collaboration tools well beforehand – we updated our platform back in 2019 in anticipation of this growing trend. Even back then we were seeing an increasing demand by many Regulated firms switching to Microsoft Teams as a key part of their journey towards Office 365 and other cloud services as a major communication channel.

By its very nature, it is essential that the Shield platform oversees all the potential communication types used by financial firms, so including Microsoft Teams in the mix was an inevitable step forward. Whilst we also include the likes of Zoom, for example, Microsoft Teams was particularly important as the platform provides several tools (or data types) including file sharing and chats, as well as advanced video communications and voice calls.

Keeping it simple

To keep things simple from a deployment point of view, the Shield platform features Out of the Box, hassle-free, integration with Microsoft Teams. To ensure full coverage (and peace of mind for the Compliance team) our platform can also build and update detection scenario models that include all Microsoft Teams communication types, swiftly and reliably detecting any potential misconduct behavior.

Shield automatically alerts and triggers an investigation review of Microsoft Teams content, including a review in native format (as seen by Microsoft Teams users) and support attachments, including all file versioning. It also detects the deletion of messages in chats, along with the editing of messages, to ensure evidence isn’t later removed. Our platform provides full viewing and searching within attachments and file shares including all kinds of archive files to ensure no stone is left unturned.

Maintaining trust

At the end of the day, the financial sector is built on trust, and it is vital that no dishonest or criminal activity can be allowed to undermine this. Sadly, online collaboration tools can be used by criminal elements just as much as trusted individuals or teams, so there was never any question that this needed to be surveilled in just the same way as any other business interactions.

Even before the pandemic restrictions, it was proven that unmonitored chat rooms could provide the perfect forum for nefarious individuals – in fact, several leading financial firms had been fined for different misconducts using this approach, including an infamous case of rigging the spot foreign exchange market. When most workers were forced to work from home early last year, the potential and temptation for these kinds of dishonest activities increased significantly. Clearly, it is essential that financial firms use suitable measures to prevent the blatant misuse of such communications platforms.

Any business communication platform, however complex, needs to be subject to the same rigorous checks and guarantees as a face-to-face onsite conversation. Despite indications that firms want to restore a significant degree of office-based working, it is inevitable that a hybrid work pattern will emerge as the most suitable for many businesses looking to retain and recruit the best talent in the industry. Therefore, the only option is to make sure all communications are properly monitored, recorded and (when necessary) investigated to ensure corruption is tackled swiftly and effectively. That is why Shield is here to help!


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