Microsoft Teams is getting another round of updates, including the addition of fully encrypted voice calls for desktop and mobile users.
From July, one-to-one voice over IP (VoIP) calls on Teams will be secured with end-to-end encryption, offering further privacy to ad hoc conversations held over the app.
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End-to-end encryption (E2EE) for Microsoft Teams voice calls has been in the works since March, when Microsoft announced a handful of security enhancements to its remote-working and meeting platform during its Ignite 2021 conference.
Yet the exact arrival of E2EE was only confirmed this week via the Microsoft 365 roadmap. Encrypted VoIP calls will be available on Teams for desktop, mobile, iOS and Android platforms from the middle of next month, providing an additional option for users conducting sensitive online conversations.
It appears that web users will be missing out on encryption, at least initially. IT admins will still be able to control who can use E2EE within the organization, the roadmap notes.
Security has become a key battleground for software companies in the virtual meeting and collaboration space.
E2EE, in particular, has become something of a coveted standard as more people have turned to platforms such as Teams, Zoom and Google Meet to connect with colleagues while working remotely.
While Microsoft Teams encrypts data in transit and in rest, E2EE does not currently cover video meetings. E2EE means that messages are encrypted on the sender’s device and can only be decrypted on the recipient’s device.
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Zoom, on the other hand, features full E2EE for its video meetings on both its free and paid subscriber plans.
Further additions to the Teams platform were announced this week, albeit less security-focused.
Specifically, Microsoft is giving its Spotlight feature an update. Designed for group presentations, Spotlight will soon allow presenters to highlight (or ‘spotlight’) up to seven participants at the same time during a Teams video call, as opposed to its current limit that only allows one other participant to be highlighted.
Microsoft’s 365 roadmap tells us that the new and improved spotlight is rolling out to users starting this month, across Teams for desktop, mobile, and on the web.