Detailed Guide For Microsoft Teams Security Best Practices

Michael ~ Modified: July 3rd, 2024 ~ Microsoft Teams ~ 8 Minutes Reading

In the last few years, Microsoft Teams has gained a huge user base. It has helped organisations work better and improve their productivity. As more and more companies start using Microsoft Teams, security has become a great concern. Microsoft Teams has some vulnerabilities that users need to look out for. In this article, we are going to discuss what the Microsoft Teams security best practices are.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based collaborative platform with built-in extremely useful features for business communication.

The features set Microsoft Teams apart from other competitors. These features are:

  1. Teams and channels: These are conversation boards where users can send messages between teammates.
  2. Conversation within channels: all team members can add to different conversations and can also mention other users to add them to the conversations.
  3. A chat function: A chat function where users can send messages to other users individually.
  4. Document storage in SharePoint: SharePoint automatically stores all the files shared in the channels automatically to the SharePoint folder.
  5. Online screen and video sharing: Microsoft Teams has also integrated a video calling feature where users can collaborate efficiently and can also share their screens. 
  6. Online meetings: In online meetings, organizers can add anyone from both outside and inside the business, with a capacity of up to 10,000 users.

Is Microsoft Teams Secure?

As with any sharing platform, users often encounter Microsoft Teams security issues. Following the Microsoft teams security best practices will help in reducing these security issues. Often, the security features can collaboration settings can inhibit users from collaboration, which takes away all the benefits of Microsoft Teams. Consistent monitoring can overcome these risks by ensuring that users are not misbehaving or granting unauthorized permissions.

Microsoft Teams is made according to the Trustworthy Computing Software Development Lifecycle (SDL).

SDL helps Microsoft develop software with security and privacy in mind. Using this, all the security issues come to light during the development stage before it is officially published.

How Does Teams Handle Security Threats?

In this section, we will explain the most common threats and how Microsoft Teams handles each of them.

Compromised attack

Microsoft Teams makes use of the PKI features in the Windows server that helps to protect the key data being used for encryption for the TLS connection. The keys used for the media encryption are exchanged over the TLS connection.

Eavesdropping in Teams

This happens when an attacker gets access to the data path in the network and monitors the traffic. It is also known as snooping or sniffing. If the traffic in Teams is in plain text, then the attacker can read the traffic when they get access to the path. For example, an attacker getting  control of the router on the data path.

To combat this, Teams uses mutual TLS (MTLS) and server to server (S2S) for communication from the server in Microsoft 365. It also uses TLS from clients to the service to ensure that all the traffic is encrypted. By using these methods, eavesdropping becomes quite difficult to do in the time period of a conversation. While TLS cannot prevent eavesdropping from happening, the attacker cannot read the traffic unless the encryption is broken.

For real time media purposes, Traversal Using Relays around NAT (TURN) is used. It does not mandate the encryption of the information being sent. The information, although, is protected by message integrity. The Teams service ensures that data is valid by checking the integrity of message using key derived from a few items which includes the TURN password. This is never sent in clear text that could be acquired by the attacker.

IP Address Spoofing

Spoofing happens when an attacker uses an IP address of a network, or computer without being authorised. When an attack is successful, the attacker gets access to operate as if they are normally identified by the IP address.

TLS authenticates all the parties and encrypts the traffic. An attacker cannot gain access to the IP address using the TLS. An attacker can still spoof the address of the DNS server. Since the authentication in Teams is performed with certificates, the attacker cannot have the valid information of the parties in the communication.

Man in the middle attack

This occurs when an attacker reroutes the communication between the users through an attacker’s device without their knowledge. The attacker can see and read all the traffic before sending it to the recipient. Every user in the communication are not aware that the traffic is under observation. This happens if an attacker modifies Active Directory Domain services to add the server or modify the DNS configuration. Man in the middle attacks is prevented in Teams by using the Secure Real Time Transport Protocol (SRTP) to encrypt the media stream. Cryptographic keys are negotiated in the endpoints over Propriety signalling protocol that uses the TLS 1.2 and AES-256 encrypted UDP or TCP channel.

Real-Time transport Protocol (RTP) replay attack

Replay attack happens when a transmission of Media happens between two parties intercepted and then retransmitted for malicious purposes. Microsoft Teams uses SRTP with secure signalling protocol that protects transmissions from the replay attacks by enabling the receiver to maintain an index of RTP packets and compares each new packets that are already listed in the index.

Worms and Viruses

A virus is basically a code that reproduces similar code units in large numbers. To make it work, a virs needs to find a host such as emails, files or other programs. if a virus is on a device, it can use the identity of the user and send messages on their behalf. Users should regularly scan for viruses to prevent this from happening.

Due to these reasons, it is very important for users to follow the Microsoft Teams security best practices to prevent this from happening.

General Microsoft Teams Best Practices:

  1. Create teams according to your organizational structure with different teams for different departments within the company.
  2. Create channels for different projects to keep all the members focused and increase their productivity.
  3. The company should allow users to make teams as long as the company monitors them.
  4. Implementing chatbots should track reminders, meetings, and more.

Here are some Microsoft Teams security best practices:

  1. Making use of multi-factor authorization.
  2. Implementing the policy of zero trust.
  3. Ensuring that the sensitive data is being classified separately on teams.
  4. Conduct audits when users share files outside the organization.
  5. Ensure that users do not download files on unauthorized devices.

Also Read: Microsoft Teams Not Loading Issue – Fixed Using Quick Fixes

Encryption of Traffic in Teams

Type of Traffic Type of Encryption
Server to Server TLS  (MTLS or Service to service OAuth)
Client to Server (Eg – Messaging and presence)  TLS
Flow of Media (Eg – video and audio sharing)  TLS
Sharing Audio and Video  SRTP/TLS
Client to Client enhanced encryption (Eg – end to end encryption calls)  SRTP/DTLS
Signalling TLS
Security Tips for Microsoft Teams

Teams shares files through SharePoint. Exchange Online sends emails. OneDrive stores files and data, and Azure AD handles authentication. Therefore, Office 365’s global settings address security issues in Teams. However, further work is necessary to ensure Teams security.

Users can do the following to ensure the security:

  • Manage Applications

Installing additional third-party applications can enhance the functionality of Microsoft Teams. However, these applications can pose a security threat and you should managed them through the manage apps page in the Teams admin center.

  • Create Security Groups

We should select users and place them into a group with access to create groups and teams. You should assign each member to a different group to track their activities within those groups. Additionally, we should ensure that users can create private channels with limited members to facilitate private and secure communication and data sharing.

  • Limit the Guest Access

It’s crucial to configure the guest access settings to limit their access, thereby ensuring controlled sharing of sensitive data.

  • Enable Additional Office 365 Features

Several additional Office 365 features help users secure teams. These features are:

  1. Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)
  2. Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
  3. Automated Backups
  • Monitor User Activity

You should keep track of activities such as sharing files, gaining access for making permission changes, and more to protect sensitive information.

By following these security tips for Microsoft Teams, users can make their Teams more secure and safe.

Conclusion

Microsoft Teams is a very useful productivity tool that helps users collaborate effectively. As more and more companies start using Microsoft Teams, security has become a great concern and with these concerns, users need to be aware of the security measures that they can take to prevent security breaches. 

When a security breach does take place, users would need to migrate their entire data along with other channels and files to a different safer account. For this purpose, Migrator Wizard Microsoft Teams Migration Tool is the best tool out there which makes the process of migrating files and data very easy and saves a lot of time for the user. It also makes sure that all the files and data are shifted safely, keeping security in mind throughout the entire process. 

Also Read: Complete Microsoft Teams Migration Checklist & Best Practices to Follow