Earlier in the pandemic, AvePoint launched Policies and Insights (PI), the only solution that monitors sensitive content exposure across Microsoft 365 and proactively enforces policies to prevent data oversharing
FREMONT, CA: AvePoint, the largest data management solutions provider for Microsoft 365, announced the results of its Impact of COVID-19 on Workplace Collaboration Survey. The 2021 report, conducted in partnership with Exec Survey and iGov Survey, reveals how over 200 unique organizations in the U.K. enabled seamless business continuity amid rapid societal change, where they face security challenges today, and what policies and procedures they are prioritizing in the next six months.
Despite a quick pivot to digital, most companies did not have a rollout plan: Since the speed of deployment was crucial to workplace productivity, three-quarters (75 percent) of organizations deployed Microsoft Teams without proper governance or security in place, leaving them vulnerable to internal and external threats.
IT teams express confidence in their collaboration security: Nearly all (95 percent) of companies believe they are compliant with internal and external regulations. Similarly, only 7 percent lacked confidence that their digital collaboration deployment was secure from data leaks and unauthorized access.
However, only about a quarter are currently doing routine governance, compliance, and security tasks: Annually, just 28 percent check the settings and membership of Microsoft Teams to identify potential risks. Only 25 percent remove guest users, in addition to less than a quarter (22 percent) who can determine who has access to specific data for audits, and the mere 13 percent who can restore individual files deleted for a year or longer.
"While the speed at which many organizations pivoted to the cloud this year was nothing short of amazing, that may have come with major security trade-offs," said John Peluso, Chief Product Officer at AvePoint and Microsoft Regional Director. "But I am optimistic because, as our survey revealed, many businesses now have an opportunity to reduce risk in the near and long-term with proper governance solutions in place."
Consistent with the over 145 million daily active Teams users Microsoft recently announced, AvePoint found that only 3 percent of companies do not leverage Teams today. Further, regular Office 365 usage jumped from nearly half (48 percent) pre-pandemic to now over three quarters (76 percent).
Increased Microsoft Teams usage is creating more demand for collaboration security, but blockers remain: Despite widespread adoption of new digital communications tools, 43 percent of companies believe making them compliant is challenging. In fact, 37 percent want to invest in Teams governance and management in the future to reduce the burden on IT and more confidently ensure they are compliant with regional and industry-specific guidelines like records – which only 23 percent of companies capture across Teams.
IT Teams experienced heightened demand: Nearly half (48 percent) of organizations' IT teams need hours or days to create digital workspaces like Microsoft Teams or SharePoint once requested by employees, leading to low adoption and shadow IT. As a result of increased responsibilities, the biggest challenge for 56 percent of organizations is the surging burden on IT when managing and servicing new collaboration tools.
"Our digital collaboration survey found that it is near impossible for employees to always comply with relevant policies, and for IT to monitor said activity, especially with the increased responsibilities they've taken on over the past year and a half," said John Hodges, SVP Product Strategy, AvePoint. "That's why there is a growing need for governance automation for any company leveraging tools like Microsoft Teams."