Ask the Microsoft Teams experts: empowering home workers – Legal Teams
Discussing, creating and sharing matter-related information via Teams’ chat facility may move workflow forward temporarily, but unless this activity is linked back to the core information/matter management repository, the longer-term value will be compromised and the firm could soon lose control of matter status, as well as information compliance.
Here’s a practical way forward:
- Start by mapping the content destined for collaboration in designated Teams, then create a connection so that related files and correspondence, and any updates, remain closely linked.
- To maximise flexibility, allow Teams to be created on demand, or automatically for active matters, using the platform’s security controls to determine who can see Teams and gain information access.
- This allows firms to keep access to sensitive matter content stored in the central DMS restricted, as appropriate. For instance, you may want to ensure that only colleagues working on a matter can see certain information/join particular Teams.
- Matter-linked Teams can be set up as discoverable (searchable) or hidden; they can also be made Public (open for others to join) or Private (users will need to request membership to gain access). You’ll also be able to ensure full visibility of who asks to join a Team or gain access to matter-related information.
- Once set up, colleagues can collaborate and use Teams – filing, co-authoring and editing documents from Teams, discussing matters and sharing related information.
- For richer functionality, it’s worth connecting in other Office 365 facilities such as MS Planner so colleagues can more easily manage and track tasks.
- Legal colleagues can continue to use Teams as their default collaboration forum, confident that they can later extract all recent information and output it back to the DMS.
Rapid yet controlled deployment of Teams to remote legal professionals protects the office-based DMS as the default content store across the matter lifecycle, while enabling maximum collaboration, document co-authoring and anything else that dispersed teams may need to do.
Why not the VPN route?
Using MS Teams as the basis for controlled and secure collaboration is a more practical solution than trying to set up virtual private networks (VPNs), which are not designed to be used en masse and are liable to crash if overstretched. Remote Teams performance is optimised too, as a cloud-first collaboration platform attracting heavy investment from Microsoft. For instance, content and services can be cached closer to users, to accelerate data centre access/response times.