Skip to content

From email to Teams: The impact on compliance, privacy and content control

Authored by David Gould - Apr 24, 2021


There has been much written on how all of us have had to adapt, change, modify or adjust our working habits as a result Covid. I have gone from flying more than 200,000 miles a year to figuring out how to do business from my desk located in our second bedroom. The truth is that adaption to these changes– whether we work in bedrooms, the garage or even on the kitchen table, were well underway before any of us heard about Covid. The pandemic was an accelerant to change; it was not the reason why employees began to embrace in a serious way collaboration tools such as Teams to do their most important work.

Aside from phenomenal growth in use of Teams – according to Microsoft, Teams has grown from two million users in 2017 to more than 115 million at end of calendar year 20 – we at EncompaaS are noticing a significant change in how Teams is facilitating changes in how we use email as our primary productivity tool at work. Statistics published by Microsoft and others show an increasing shift away from e-mail as the collaboration tool of choice. One study showed a whopping 17 percent decrease in the use of email for company business. Because of the immediacy, robustness and highly collaborative environment that Teams offers, employees are subconsciously weaning themselves off total reliance on email and using Teams as their primary tool for messaging, sharing content and doing their everyday work. The average office worker receives 200 emails per day and spends about 2.5 hours reading and responding. Why spend all this time when you can quickly filter and participate in dedicated channels supported by the immediacy of conversation? Why take time to construct an email and wait impatiently for a response when you can ping any fellow worker (s) and get results in real time?

I have spoken to several senior managers in IT, corporate legal and compliance about this trend and there is nothing but confirmation. I am not saying email will disappear – but these new powerful collaboration tools have the potential to begin the disintermediation of email much in the same way cloud-based applications have disrupted entertainment, advertising, and travel in the past.  

From a compliance perspective, there is growing and justified concern over the important records and information types that now fill the Teams (SharePoint Online) repository. Email archiving has traditionally been the first line of defense for compliance and legal executives to meet their regulatory, relationship and discovery requirements. With the explosion of Teams, there is a new focus on the compliance challenges exposed because of this shift. Prior to Covid, legal, IT governance and regulatory had the power to either limit or, in some case, prevent deployment of these solutions due to the compliance challenges created by the undisciplined sharing of content and the potential for chat abuse. Even with Covid starting to appear in the rear-view mirror, I don’t foresee the work world slowing the use of Teams and returning to the “good ole days.” For Compliance, Legal and Regulatory, that means there is not an option of saying no when it comes to deploying transformative collaboration tools.

I don’t foresee the work world slowing the use of Teams and returning to the “good ole days.” For Compliance, Legal and Regulatory, that means there is not an option of saying no when it comes to deploying transformative collaboration tools.

Harken back to the early days of smart phones. Security and compliance managers tried this tact of just saying no, but they quickly found themselves overwhelmed and, frankly, overrun by the masses of users who chose to use their smart phones because it was easy and it specifically enhanced personal productivity. Rather than saying no, these departments are now mandated to find solutions that allow these tools to co-exist while meeting enterprise obligations for compliance, security and privacy. If they don’t, they risk creating an even larger problem of creating a rogue community who will stop nothing short of collaborating when and wherever they want.

Yes, these collaboration tools do have some “Compliance” functionality built in, but the harsh reality is that they barely scratch the surface in terms of discovery, classification, tagging, audit, and retention. These are the stock requirements for which all enterprises must adhere to meet and comply with the ever-growing number of regulatory, discovery and privacy requirements. I finally get to say this here – all enterprises face regulatory, compliance and privacy requirements. Some organizations face higher degrees of compliancy than others, but there is NO SUCH THING as a non-regulated industry.  

The challenge is to find ways to productively harness the information exchange with transparency while, at the same time, keeping the enterprise safe from risk created by the non-compliant information. At EncompaaS, this is our mission. We give enterprises a highly efficient AND cost-effective platform for discovering, classifying, managing and protecting sensitive information while fully allowing employees to work the way they want to work. Simply, EncompaaS makes Teams better. We accomplish this through our automated discovery, real-time, machine driven analytics and policy driven management throughout the Teams environment – Channels, content, and conversation (and the backline SharePoint Online, where most of the information is stored). In addition, because we can federate views into other third-party applications and repositories, EncompaaS also connects the dots between the work that is done in Teams to these other applications, providing holistic and consistent governance while enhancing productivity at the same time. 

While no one has ever accused me of being sage, I can say with extreme certainty that we are at the beginning, not the end, of the adoption of collaboration tools. That is why compliance, legal, records and security executives need to take aggressive steps. Not by saying no to the march of new technology, but by assertively addressing the new requirements with smart solutions developed and produced by organizations that fully understand the challenges of content compliance. The compliance bullseye needs to push email archiving to an outer ring – the new center target should be Teams. Give me a call at EncompaaS to continue this discussion and find out how we can help your organization move your compliance programs forward in full lockstep with the productivity solutions that are changing the way we work, collaborate, and communicate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

David Gould

Chief Customer Officer

Contact [email protected] to learn more.

Book a demo

Let’s get started

See how you can harness Content Intelligence, turning information management into opportunity.


Submit this form to set up a short, tailored demo of the EncompaaS platform with a member of our team.

Request a demo today

* indicates required field

By submitting this form, you consent to be contacted by a member of our team by email or phone. You can unsubscribe from our communications at any time via the unsubscribe option in the email received. For more information on how EncompaaS uses your data, please refer to our Privacy Policy.