Secure Private Channels are one of the features that we at AskMeWhy believe that is necessary for Teams adoption to really take off with collaboration in your organization when switch from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams organizes users into teams and provides for each of the groups multiple channels. Today, all channels within a Team are visible to everybody of a Team. If a group of users want to work on confidential content, they must create an additional Team to separate the contents.
Secure Private Channels will help companies to streamline how employees are organized within Microsoft Teams. Instead of having an “HR Department Team” and an “HR Manager Team”, a company can have one Microsoft Team for the entire department with a Secure Private Channel for its managers.
Our collaboration and project solution Seamless for Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Online supports the secure separation of public and confidential content in a single workspace since 2017. Even then, it was clear to us that this separation of information belongs to everyday life of projects and teams. We never had to explain much to our customers what this separation is needed for, and the feature was instinctively used to get organized.
In Seamless, this works as follows:
Ones the “Restricted Documents” is activated by the workspace manager, the SharePoint library to securely store and edit documents in the same workspace is automatically created.
After activation of the restriced documents, workspace managers can assign the permission to access confidential data by simply activating the toggle in the Team Tab of Seamless.
When opening the Seamless workspace of a specific project, team or department, only members with the corresponding permissions will see the tool displayed in the dashboard and can access and modify the confidential data.
If a team uses Seamless as foundation of MS Teams, the confidential data in the Microsoft Teams General Channel will only be available for members with the corresponding permissions as well.
Day-to-day dealing with Secure Private Channels
We are looking forward to the launch of Secure Private Channel for Microsoft Teams. Today, however, in which project teams are increasingly working in virtual teams and often with external parties, specialists and suppliers, the new functionality does not go far enough. The main reason for this is, that as soon as you need not only two levels of security but three or more, you will end up with the same challenge of separating contents again.
For example: A project has a project manager and a team. The Project Manager has a Secure Private Channel to work on budget information, reporting, contracts etc. If the team consists of a mix of internal and external employees, then there is no-out-of-the-box solution to separate contents that should not be accessed by the external members. Sometimes, there are even multiple external suppliers working together for the same project. Believe me, they usually don’t like it, if their competitors have access to their work and results.
“Why not simply create another Secure Private Channel for the internal team?”
This is possible. But be aware that each Secure Private Channel creates a new SharePoint site collection and you will end up with many site collections if you follow this approach. Yes, your users don’t mind if there are many SharePoint Site Collections, but your IT-Department certainly will. They are the ones covering the Office 365 housekeeping and they don’t enjoy to have more and more elements to take care of. They will also make sure, that each site collection has proper security policies and governance applied and that Office 365 does not end up in a mess with redundant, orphaned or inactive workspaces.
The confidential document library of Seamless can give this little extra flexibility to separate public and confidential content in one single workspace without creating more work for your IT-Department.