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Are Microsoft Teams calls encrypted?

Microsoft Teams calls are encrypted at rest and in transit. But organizations that want an additional layer of security can enable end-to-end encryption for one-on-one calls.

Telephony remains an important technology to facilitate communication among companies, customers and employees. This means, however, that sensitive information can be shared during phone calls, including conversations about contracts, intellectual property and protected health information.

As a result, companies must be mindful of the importance of securing phone conversations to ensure privacy. This is especially important as organizations and customers move away from traditional PBX systems to IP telephony, where users rely on cloud-based platforms, like Microsoft Teams. But are these internet-based platforms safe from hackers intercepting the calls?

E2EE boosts Teams calling security

Teams does encrypt all exchanges in transit and at rest using the standard security features available in Transport Layer Security and Secure Real-time Transport Protocol. But Microsoft also offers Teams administrators the ability to increase the security of Teams calls beyond the basic out-of-the-box protection -- namely, end-to-end encryption (E2EE).

E2EE enables administrators to increase Teams telephony security by ensuring a call is encrypted at its source and decrypted once it reaches its destination. E2EE provides a heightened level of security for extremely sensitive calls or conversations that need to meet additional regulatory compliance.

E2EE can be turned on from within the Teams client privacy settings. Microsoft supports E2EE for audio, video and screen-sharing for one-on-one calls. Microsoft does not yet support E2EE for group calls.

One caveat to E2EE in Teams is that features such as recording, call transfer, call merge, call park and live transcriptions are not available. Organizations must weigh whether the benefits of securing calls through E2EE is worth the tradeoff of losing access to those calling features.

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