Who Knew Microsoft Will be Winning at User Security & Privacy With Its Video Conferencing App


Microsoft isn't a company people usually associate with user privacy and security. For years after the release of Windows 10, we saw several examples of the Redmond tech giant trampling on user rights. But who knew someone else would make even Microsoft look like a privacy-focused firm.

Zoom shot to popularity as people started to work from home or were pushed into lockdowns, but since then several investigations have revealed the company attacking user privacy in more than just a few ways. These investigations have pushed several schools and organizations (including SpaceX) to put a ban on the video conferencing app.

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The Windows maker, rightly taking on this opportunity, has today released a detailed blog post sharing how Microsoft Teams is built for privacy and security. Even with Windows 10, over the past years the company has certainly tried to improve, offering more controls to its users. But it specifically tries not to generate user mistrust when it comes to business solutions.

"Microsoft Teams data is encrypted in transit and at rest"

"Over the past week, there has been a lot written about video conferencing, privacy, and security," the company writes hinting at Zoom's privacy issues. "As an IT professional, you may be getting a lot of questions. We want to help."

Privacy and security are always top of mind for IT, but never more so than at this moment, when the end users you support are working remotely."

Microsoft said that its Teams video conferencing app never exploits user data to serve ads or tracks participant attention or multitasking in Teams meetings. The company added that user data is deleted after the termination or expiration of their subscription, and shared the following measures:

  • We take strong measures to ensure access to your data is restricted and carefully define requirements for responding to government requests for data.
  • You can access your own customer data at any time and for any reason.
  • We offer regular transparency reports on the Transparency Hub, detailing how we have responded to third-party requests for data.
  • We have taken steps to ensure that there are no back doors and no direct or unfettered government access to your data.

Microsoft also shared that it protects user identity and account by offering multi-factor authentication, Conditional Access, Microsoft Endpoint Manager, secure guest access, and external access features to enable people to collaborate across multiple organizations without anyone gatecrashing.

It added that the "Teams data is encrypted in transit and at rest," and that the company complies with over 90 regulatory and industry standards for user and student security. Some of the tools that can help you secure your Microsoft Teams experience include:

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  • Meeting options: you can decide who from outside of your organization can join your meetings directly, and who should wait in the lobby for someone to let them in.
  • Roles in a meeting: defined by meeting organizer.
  • Attendee consent for recording
  • Meeting recording access: limited to those people who are on the call, or invited to the meeting, unless the meeting organizer authorizes others to access the recording.
  • Channel moderation and controls: Channel owners can moderate a channel conversation and control who is, and is not, allowed to share content in channel conversations. This helps ensure only appropriate content is viewed by others.
  • Communication compliance enables organizations to foster a culture of inclusion and safety by identifying and preventing negative behaviors like bullying and harassment.

While Microsoft may not have a good track record with Windows 10's security and privacy, its Microsoft Teams is certainly leading the game when compared to the alternatives.

- More details available over at Microsoft.