Microsoft’s Group Chat Software Leaves the Secure Messaging Question Unanswered

14 November, 2016 by Ouriel Weisz

NURO welcomes Microsoft’s move into the business group chat and collaboration space but questions its security credentials.

Microsoft is hoping its new group chat software, Microsoft Teams, will help it to gain traction the highly competitive business collaboration market.

A growing number of enterprises now use group messaging platforms alongside traditional email to enhance team productivity when communicating in-house and with customers.

Microsoft Teams is still in the customer preview stage, set to be available in the first quarter of 2017. Yet already we know enough to appreciate how it will stack up against existing solutions in the enterprise collaboration space.

Microsoft’s history with team messaging

Interestingly enough, this isn’t Microsoft’s first foray into internal comms for enterprise.

Back in 2012, they purchased Yammer, a Facebook-type noticeboard for corporates,  but this has stagnated since the $1.2 billion acquisition.

The technology behind Microsoft Teams has no relation to Yammer. Teams started as a side project for internal use  by developers trying to build a gaming product.

It may seem odd that Microsoft would choose to acquire one messaging software product only to build a brand new one, but when it comes to this kind of thing Microsoft has form. 

The key takeaway is that Microsoft’s Teams wasn’t originally designed for the enterprise and therefore security  is not a core part of its design.

What Microsoft Teams brings to the table

The validation for enterprise-grade messaging and collaboration that Microsoft Teams’ brings to the market is to be welcomed.

Microsoft’s 100 million office users may give them a head start but this won’t necessarily mean they’ll automatically be the clear winner.

Microsoft Teams has a similar look and feel to other messaging and collaboration apps already on the market. Slack has already noticed and has even invited Microsoft to the revolution in an open letter. The two group chat platforms share more than one similarity.

For example, Slack was also originally developed as a side project by developers trying to build a gaming product. Slack, too, was not built from the ground up with enterprise security at its foundations – one look at its features proves just that.

Microsoft Teams has fewer APIs than existing solutions, less flexibility and no way to invite contractors and other contacts outside the company to join in group conversations.

But it is the question of security that Teams really fails to answer.

Enterprises will be familiar with Microsoft’s poor track record when it comes to security.

Just last year, the company finished at the bottom of the list during AV-Test’s latest evaluation of antivirus products. In an environment where 781 security data breaches occurred in the U.S. alone last year, businesses just can’t afford to take any chances with their group chat application.

What should group chat software look like?

Team messaging and collaboration apps boost productivity by 25% by streamlining in-house communication.

There are many features which contribute to the increase in team efficiency, and each app takes its unique approach.

NURO, for example, boasts voice messages and the ability to message partners and customers (external contacts).

NURO also puts a large focus on security with a four-layer security system powered by IBM Watson’s advanced machine learning and military-grade encryption.

Key takeaways

Microsoft will always receive media attention because of its size.

But this does not mean Teams is any better than any other group chat app.

After all, it’s not the bigger company that has the better product, but the one that offers the highest level of security and technology.

What is certain is that a lot more businesses will be exposed to positive messages about enterprise collaboration apps. NURO expects this to lead to greater demand for these types of services.