After organizations around the world responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual tools are more common than ever. Remote collaboration is becoming the preferred method of communication, and remote work is likely here to stay.
While several tools on the market can enhance remote productivity and collaboration, not many can compete with Microsoft. Microsoft Teams consolidates chat, video conferencing, file storage, screen-sharing and more into one comprehensive platform.
For legal teams, Microsoft Teams stands out for its ability to host small breakout meetings on the fly. Teams’ breakout rooms allow attorneys and clients to meet in small groups from anywhere without sacrificing audio/video quality or security.
Read on to learn how breakout rooms work in Microsoft Teams, how they best serve legal arbitration and mediation, and how Microsoft ensures robust meeting security.
What Are Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms
Breakout rooms are smaller, ad-hoc meetings that take place within a Microsoft Teams meeting. They allow groups to branch off from the main meeting into smaller discussion sessions.
Only the original meeting organizer can create breakout rooms. The organizer assigns people to each breakout room, maintains control of the sessions (without having to participate in them), and can give attendees the option to come back to the main meeting when they’re ready. Otherwise, attendees stay in their breakout rooms.
The meeting organizer can also add or remove attendees from breakout rooms or recall any participant back to the main meeting as needed. Because these breakout rooms are still Teams meetings, participants can leverage all of the features Teams has to offer, including a breakout room chat, whiteboard and file sharing.
Why Breakout Rooms for Arbitration and Mediation Make Sense
In conventional arbitration and mediation meetings, sidebar conversations are common. Teams breakout rooms enable virtual sidebar conversations by offering small, secure sessions within the larger meeting.
Microsoft Teams breakout rooms are also ideal for legal meetings because of their robust security protocols. Only the meeting organizer can assign, add, or remove participants from a breakout room, and only they can initiate or close a breakout room. Breakout rooms maintain the same security settings as the main Teams meeting, which can include encryption, user and client authentication, meeting locks and other security methods outlined in the following section.
Content-sharing capabilities also enhance the visual aspect of breakout rooms without sacrificing participants’ video or presentation quality. This allows participants to share and review contracts, images and other documents together in real time.
Microsoft Teams Security
With Microsoft, you know the security will be robust. Microsoft offers users a wide array of security options and configurations to meet your privacy and protection needs.
To start, Teams requires two-factor authentication, single sign-on through Active Directory, and data encryption in transit and at rest. It also offers Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), which can be applied through the Office 365 tenant, protecting all participants from malicious content and bad actors.
Additional advanced capabilities include information barriers, which block certain groups from viewing or sharing sensitive information, communication compliance that blocks inappropriate language and content, and data loss prevention, which protects sensitive information.
Documents shared and notes taken in a breakout room are stored in SharePoint and OneNote, respectively, and are backed by the security protocols configured in the Office 365 portal.
Visit Microsoft’s overview for the full break-down of Teams security and compliance features.
The BBH Difference
BBH is a Microsoft partner with experience configuring collaboration solutions for law firms. We understand the law industry and specialize in helping companies adopt and optimize Microsoft Teams for better collaboration and productivity.
Visit our Voice/Data/Video Services overview to learn more about how we help law firms adopt Microsoft Teams and streamline their communications.