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Microsoft Teams end-to-end encryption has finally arrived — but there is a catch

Microsoft Teams
(Image credit: Microsoft Teams)

When it comes to data protection, the best apps, whether they be messaging apps or VPN services, will have end-to-end encryption (E2EE) to keep your conversations private — something that was sorely missing on Microsoft Teams until recently.

During the annual Microsoft Ignite conference, Microsoft announced it will finally be bringing E2EE to its popular business communication platform Microsoft Teams. The catch? It's only available for one-to-one calls, meaning bigger conference calls with more users and online meetings will have to wait for data protection. 

“Today, we shared that an end-to-end encryption option for Teams 1:1 ad hoc VoIP calls will be available in preview to commercial customers planned for the first half of this year,” Microsoft explained. "We will then work to bring E2EE capabilities to online meetings later."

The data encryption will only be available to paying customers, and can only be used if both the caller and receiver are enabled by their company's IT team and have both opted in. It will be a slow rollout but should be an enticing offer to more businesses, especially seeing how Zoom added E2EE last year (albeit over quite a bit of controversy). 

Microsoft Teams: More security options

Full E2EE integration to Microsoft Teams is expected to start rolling out throughout 2021, along with a few other noteworthy security features including video conferencing controls that let hosts prevent other users from joining, along with the host being able to disable an attendee's video during meetings if needed.

Microsoft Teams will also now support "Multi-Geo capabilities," which is more for multi-national organizations. It will give companies more control over the location of specific data centers where their data is stored.

It will also be adding a safe link feature that many will be familiar with, as it brings URL scanning and "time-of-click verification" of URLs in links shared through email messages. Essentially, this means users will get a warning if a link is malicious.

While the always sought-after E2EE to protect company data hasn't been fully released to Microsoft Teams yet, it's good to know that Microsoft is finally catching up to its competition in terms of privacy.