Could Microsoft Teams be Your Biggest Weakness? Organizations Should Provide More Security for Collaboration Tools, Research Shows

    New Mimecast Report Reveals Only 9% of Organizations Monitor Use of Collaboration Tools Daily

    Media Alert, August 2, 2023– Mimecast Limited, an advanced email and collaboration security company, has released first-of-its-kind research, that explores the state of the collaboration tools market in relation to cybersecurity. Collaboration Security: Risks and Realities of the Modern Work Surface reveals that businesses are failing to secure collaboration tools, even though almost all (94%) have experienced a threat via their chosen tools.

    The research is based on responses from over 3000 employees and 600 cybersecurity decision makers across a range of sectors, and gauges their understanding and conduct related to collaboration tool security within their organizations.

    Overconfidence is dangerous 

    The survey found that business collaboration tools pose a huge threat to businesses globally, with employee and decision maker overconfidence putting organizations at greater risk. Despite cyber decision makers believing their organizations are well-equipped to combat collaboration tool-related cyberattacks, almost all organizations surveyed have experienced a threat via them. The most prevalent attacks are malware (56%), phishing (44%) and credential harvesting (26%). 

    The largest impacts of these cyberattacks on the business, include loss of company data (54%), loss of potential customers (36%), loss of current customers (32%) and damaged company reputation (30%).

    In addition, the financial cost of these attacks on organizations is significant with the average total being over half a million dollars ($574,783). Sixteen per cent of those surveyed estimate the total cost of collaboration tools-related attacks in the past year was over $1 million. This shows that in order to work protected, businesses need to consider their entire security ecosystem, as collaboration tools continue to rise in use.

    The disconnect between confidence and reality is causing substantial impact

    Eighty five percent of those surveyed felt their organization had effectively communicated the security vulnerabilities of collaboration tools to their employees. This directly contradicts the fact only 10% said they received dedicated collaboration tools security training.

    Furthermore, decision makers are not monitoring how employees utilize collaboration tools, in order to protect against threats. Less than half (46%) monitor employee use of collaboration tools at least once a month, and less than one in ten (9%), do so daily.

    Since they are not specifically trained or monitored, almost a third (30%) of employees do not see cybersecurity breaches via collaboration tools on their devices, as something for which they are directly responsible. 

    This means employees are more likely to let their guard down when using business collaboration tools. According to the Mimecast research, employees are 12% less likely to check the legitimacy of attachment file names or URL links in private messages on collaboration tools than those on email. Employees are at their most vulnerable when receiving a message from their line manager, with nearly two thirds (65%) likely to click on a link to an unfamiliar website or source if it’s from someone they report in to.

    Coinciding with the research is the release of Mimecast’s new solution, Protection for Microsoft Teams. This is available for Email Security, Cloud Integrated Customers in the US and UK and will allow them to Work Protected™ across the hybrid attack surface.

    “The modern workplace has experienced explosive change in a short period of time. Adoption of Microsoft Teams has never been higher due to hybrid work, making collaboration tools essential to productivity. But cybercriminals know this and are increasingly seeking to exploit this tool,” said David Raissipour, Mimecast Chief Technology and Product Officer. “As collaboration tools become an increasingly complex and growing threat vector, employee and decision maker overconfidence will place organizations at even greater risk. Without dedicated monitoring and training, risky behavior on these tools is less likely to be picked up.

    “This is where IT decision makers have a vital role to play in securing these platforms and providing their employees with specific collaboration security training to protect their data. Protection for Microsoft Teams is designed to ensure that Microsoft 365 remains a productivity tool rather than a security risk, and educating employees about the security implications will ensure they are careful about what they click on or share via these tools. This will help organizations to reduce cyber risk and cost, all while training employees to truly be part of their collaboration security fabric,” says Raissipour.

    For further information, or to read the full Collaboration Security: Risks and Realities of the Modern Work Surface report, please visit:

    To learn more about Protection for Microsoft Teams and Email Security, Cloud Integrated, and to explore other Mimecast products and solutions, visit

    About Mimecast: Work Protected™  

    Since 2003, Mimecast has stopped bad things from happening to good organizations by enabling them to work protected. The company empowers more than 40,000 customers to help mitigate risk and manage complexities across a threat landscape driven by malicious cyberattacks, human error, and technology fallibility. Its advanced solutions provide the proactive threat detection, brand protection, awareness training, and data retention capabilities that evolving workplaces need today. Mimecast solutions are designed to transform email and collaboration security into the eyes and ears of organizations worldwide.  


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