Mind the Compliance Gap—Choosing the Right Recording Technology for Microsoft Teams Collaboration

Erik Joo May 8, 2023

In today’s competitive hybrid working environment—and especially as a consequence of the pandemic-induced disruption—companies continue to increasingly look at collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams® as an enabler of frictionless business communications. These tools provide a means to maintain business operations—wherever their workforce may be located.

The shift to the hybrid model of work created a new urgency, accelerating the timeline for even wider adoption of Teams for seamless digital collaboration.

Teams delivers essential capabilities to serve an increasingly digital and remote workforce: real-time instant messaging, voice calling, video conferencing, file and screen sharing, along with fluid integration with the apps in the Microsoft Office 365® productivity suite.

As the world transitions, it’s not surprising that Teams utilization increased exponentially: in March 2020, the platform was used by over 1 million organizations, together accumulating a staggering 2.7 billion meeting minutes per day. By March 2023, Teams had more than 280 million monthly active users.

While much of the surge in demand for Teams was attributable to the pandemic, it seems certain that we will not see a simple return to the traditional ways of working and communicating from a single office base.

Collaboration tools, such as Microsoft’s productivity apps, are here to stay and indeed have evolved to an even more predominant element of the post-COVID workplace.

A Growing Imperative for Teams Compliance Recording

As Microsoft Teams is becoming the core means of communication and collaboration for regulated businesses, they must continue to be on the lookout for “compliance gaps”, which could derive from certain—previously unconsidered—communication modes available in the platform.

Many industries—such as financial services, healthcare, energy and utilities—as well as the public sector would benefit from this technology. They are all regulated in one way or another.

Such external regulations, industry standards, and internal policies frequently mandate the capture, storage and monitoring of voice and electronic communications related to the conduct of their business activities.

Where this is the case, Teams calls and online meetings should be recorded automatically for subsequent processing, supervision, surveillance and retention as required by relevant corporate or regulatory policies.

As a response to this, Microsoft announced the general availability of APIs in 2020 that allow its partners, such as Verint, to provide policy-based Teams recording solutions. Some of these solutions not only capture and store data for a prescribed retention period, but also provide the ability to retrieve, replay, tag, and analyze it to strengthen regulatory compliance, reduce the risk of employee misconduct, and perform ongoing communication surveillance.

The stringent requirements of some regulations may hinder the ability to adopt Teams without such tools in place.

Competing Pressures for Collaboration Compliance

In order to close this “compliance gap,” organizations must consider a number of potentially competing requirements:

  • Delivering the best response to regulatory requirements: Certain market verticals, such as financial services, are particularly impacted by rigorous compliance obligations. Meeting stringent recordkeeping, data sovereignty, surveillance, and reporting rules to the highest degrees of quality and reliability is not optional—it’s needed to operate within compliance boundaries across these industries. Teams calling and meetings should be covered by your voice and eComms compliance efforts just like any other element of your communications environment. But remember: communication is no longer binary (calls are shared, forwarded, rolled into different modes), so compliance capture of the communication is not easy.
  • Achieving the best balance between business productivity and compliance: Rolling out Microsoft Teams without compliance recording technology in place could be a tough balancing act. Do you restrict its use to non-regulated employees, impacting productivity, employee engagement, and potentially disrupting workflows? Do you roll it out to everyone but risk the regulatory consequences of fines, a potential loss of market share and reputational damage? Or do you delay Teams adoption completely and risk losing competitive advantage? Always-on, policy-based recording is the key to ensuring that you avoid these issues, make the most of Teams collaboration andcontinue to adhere to regulatory demands.
  • Identifying the best technology for your compliance requirements: Identifying the best solution for your business will be about more than the ability to record Teams interactions. The requirements should encompass maximum reliability, smooth integration with the other channels your business uses to communicate, and streamlined access to use the recorded data—long after the recordings have been captured. Choosing the right technology can bring significant benefits in terms of helping IT and compliance departments rest assured that all Teams interactions of regulated users are automatically recorded and made available later for processing, structuring, aggregation, and analysis.

Choosing the Right Compliance Recording Technology

Finding this balance between digital collaboration and increasingly stringent regulatory compliance is a continuous challenge for many regulated organizations. With remote working arrangements, the need to rethink collaboration compliance has never been more relevant.

As examined in our recent Buyer’s Guide eBook, there are essential capabilities to look for, and key questions to ask, when evaluating such solutions for a highly regulated environment.

  • How can automated and unified compliance technology help you capture all Teams communications and collaboration? Does the solution work with all the communication modes available in Microsoft Teams calling and meetings—not just voice but also chat, video, screen sharing, and other forms of collaboration?
  • When do you want to capture Teams chats? How can you ensure your vendor captures everything you need, including both in-call (or “sidebar”) chats and all the modern attachments and reactions?
  • How can you simplify the deployment, maintenance, and scaling of your recording infrastructure? What delivery models are available and how does the platform support administration and user provisioning?
  • What specific security and resilience features should you look for to remain compliant? How can you address strict data sovereignty requirements while maintaining data integrity?
  • And how can you best manage, analyze, and get value out of your recorded data, in addition to making Teams recording part of your overall compliance and regulatory technology estate?

For more information on compliance recording for Microsoft Teams, head over to https://www.verint.com/engagement-data-management/microsoft-teams-recording/.