Securely working with multi-cloud data in Microsoft Teams using the File Fabric

Microsoft Teams multi-cloudThis is a follow on from our similar blog post on integrating Slack with the File Fabric.

Microsoft Teams is an alternative to Slack that has gained a lot of traction particularly in the last couple of week because of the need for employees to work from home. We have had several requests of how the File Fabric can be used within Teams and this post outlines how this can be achieved.

Unlike Slack we currently do not have an App or a plugin for Teams but that does not mean we cannot effect a good integration. The first things to note is that for the below steps to be effective the Windows / Mac desktop Teams client should be used.

The first step is to launch the Teams App from the Windows or Mac desktop. Once logged in  either create a new Channel or visit an existing Channel and click the plus sign to the right of the top bar where the name of the channel is assigned. This will bring up a screen to add a Tab.  Choose the Web Tab.

Microsoft Teams CIFS

From the Web Tab you then have the opportunity to add a Title and Link to the website.

From a File Fabric perspective there are a couple of options you can choose here. The first one is the simple one in which you could choose to use to add your File Fabric site URL. This would link the tab to the front page of your hosted site.

The second option is that you could choose to add a permalink to a particular folder within one of the storage repositories that you have mapped to your site. For example an Amazon S3 Folder, an Azure Folder or perhaps an internal SAN/NAS or DFS folder for example.  A permalink is a permanent link to that folder that does not change, but users still have to authenticate and be logged into the File Fabric to have permission to view the content.

Microsoft Teams Amazon S3

The advantage of using permalinks is that you can choose to have different content available in different channels where they make sense. For example Marketing Assets that are stored on some WebDav server, Video content that is stored on Amazon S3 or Azure etc, sensitive data that is not stored on the cloud but on some local Windows Filer etc.

Once the link has been set when a user visit that tab they will be required to authenticate into the File Fabric. As the File Fabric can be setup to use delegated authentication this authentication could be the same Active Directory / LDAP or SAML domain authentication that users already use. For additional security the File Fabric can be set to issue a 2FA OTP challenge to users before the content can be accessed.

Microsoft Team 2FA

Once the correct response to the challenge is given the content can be accessed directly from within Teams:

Microsoft Teams S3

As with Slack there are a number of benefits from this type of integration with Teams:

(i) Content that is not currently supported by Teams can easily be assigned and pinned to Channels, for example Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, DFS, NAS / SAN / SMB, Google Storage etc.

(ii) All content is accessible in a compliant way in which accessed data is audited and compliance policies honoured – essential for GDPR, CCPA and HIPPA

(iii) File Previews, downloads, secure sharing etc all work directly from within teams from the pinned view leading to greater productivity and collaboration for users.



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