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April 16, 2024
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 min read

Is Microsoft Teams HIPAA Compliant?

Learn how to use Microsoft Teams in a HIPAA compliant way that safeguards sensitive and protected health information data

Is Microsoft Teams HIPAA Compliant?
Calendar Icon White
April 16, 2024
Clock Icon
 min read

Is Microsoft Teams HIPAA Compliant?

Learn how to use Microsoft Teams in a HIPAA compliant way that safeguards sensitive and protected health information data



  • Microsoft Teams’s Compatibility with HIPAA: As standard, Microsoft Teams does not meet HIPAA compliance for handling Protected Health Information.
  • MS Teams HIPAA Configuration: Microsoft Teams, and the wider Microsoft 365 suite of products, can be configured to bring their security settings into compliance with HIPAA.
  • Business Associate Agreement (BAA): A BAA is a critical component of HIPAA compliance, and Microsoft does offer a BAA that covers Teams.
  • Storing PHI in Microsoft Teams: Presents significant data security and compliance risks, especially if Microsoft Teams is not configured correctly or staff are not trained to  handle sensitive information.
  • Potential for PHI Leakage: There is serious potential for data leaks within Microsoft Teams, underscoring the need for comprehensive Data Loss Prevention (DLP) strategies.
  • Strac Teams DLP: Uses algorithms to automatically detect and redact sensitive content within Microsoft Teams, ensuring real-time protection against inadvertent data exposure. Teams DLP can identify and redact a myriad of sensitive data, including electronic Protected Health Information (PHI).

Is Microsoft Teams HIPAA Compliant?

Microsoft Teams is a popular collaboration application developed by Microsoft as part of the Microsoft 365 family of products. Teams offers workspace messaging and video conferencing tools as well as file storage.

Yes. Microsoft Teams can be used in a HIPAA compliant way, but only by healthcare organizations that:

  1. Use Microsoft Teams as part of the Microsoft 365 or Office 365 E5 business plans;
  2. Signed a relevant BAA with Microsoft, and;
  3. Have configured their MS Teams plan to support HIPAA compliance. 

The need to configure your Microsoft Teams plan to make it HIPAA compliant does increase the complexity, especially when you consider that any other app that is integrated with the Teams platform must also be configured correctly.

Understanding Office 365 DLP Limitations
Strac Integration with Microsoft Office 365

Will Microsoft Sign a Business Associate Agreement?

To comply with HIPAA, third-party vendors must have a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) in place with their customers.

Yes, Microsoft offers a BAA. All healthcare organizations that subscribe to a Microsoft 365 or Office 365 E5 business plan automatically accept Microsoft’s BAA. Keep in mind that Microsoft offers a general BAA, and does not enter into individual agreements with customers.

Microsoft’s BAA formalizes their commitment to safeguarding Protected Health Information (PHI), including information stored in cloud services like Microsoft Teams, in accordance with HIPAA guidelines. 

Can You Store Protected Health Information in Teams?

Yes. It is possible to use Microsoft Teams to collect, store, handle, or transmit Protected Health Information (PHI) if an organization configures Teams to support HIPAA compliance.

Sensitive PHI Sample

‎Microsoft teams can be configured to comply with HIPAA, but healthcare organizations and their employees must ensure that the handling of PHI within Teams is managed with strict adherence to HIPAA’s privacy and security rules. 

These include implementing strict access controls and data protection policies to prevent unauthorized access to PHI. 

Many organizations prefer a more convenient and manageable solution to prevent data breaches and compliance violations. Some solutions offer strict security measures while maintaining user-friendly functionality for a smooth MS Teams experience.

Can PHI or Patient Data Be Leaked from Microsoft Teams?

Even after properly configuring Microsoft Teams for HIPAA compliance, there is a risk of PHI being leaked from Teams. Aside from the incorrect configuration of settings, the most common cause of data leaks from Microsoft Teams is unauthorized access.

While Microsoft Teams provides a secure environment for communication, the risk of PHI and other sensitive data being leaked exists. This risk can arise from various factors, including user error, misconfigured settings, or cybersecurity threats. 

It’s vital for organizations to continuously monitor and manage how PHI is handled within Teams to mitigate these risks. As well as training employees on how to comply with various data protection standards and policies, some organizations adopt feature-rich Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions that add a definitive layer of security to platforms such as Microsoft Teams.

How Does Strac Protect Against MS Teams Data Leaks?

Strac Teams DLP  is a data loss prevention software that uses advanced algorithms to detect and redact sensitive content within Microsoft Teams.

Teams DLP is an extensive data loss solution that secures Microsoft Teams and prevents sensitive data leaks, including PHI. With Teams DLP, any messages sent and received through MS Teams are always compliant, private, and only accessible by authorized users.

Here’s how Strac Teams DLP keeps your organization's communications and sensitive data secure and confidential at all time:

  • Granular Access Control: Strac Teams DLP enhances security by allowing precise control over who can access and share information within Microsoft Teams, reducing the risk of unauthorized access. Discover more through the complete range of Strac DLP integrations.
  • Sensitive Data Identification: Utilizing AI-powered detection, Strac identifies sensitive information such as PII, PHI, and PCI across all Teams’ channels, messages, and files, ensuring comprehensive protection. Learn more by exploring the catalog of sensitive data elements.
  • Real-Time Content Inspection: Strac monitors content shared on Microsoft Teams in real time, safeguarding against the unauthorized sharing of sensitive data. Further information can be found in the developer documentation.
  • Seamless Compliance: Strac ensures Microsoft Teams complies with HIPAA and other regulatory standards via automated solutions, making it easier to adhere to necessary compliance requirements.
  • Proactive Threat Detection: Employing AI-driven threat intelligence, Strac protects against phishing attempts, malware, and other cyber threats, securing the organization's communications.
  • Policy Enforcement and Remediation: With automated DLP policy enforcement, Strac provides real-time alerts, blocks sensitive information sharing, and can encrypt data as needed, ensuring secure data handling practices.

Check out our guide to HIPAA Compliance for more on how Strac helps organizations bring their use of 3rd-party applications like Microsoft Teams into full compliance with HIPAA standards. This post on scanning for HIPAA vulnerabilities is also worth reading.

Book a free 30-minute demo to learn more.

Founder, Strac. ex-Amazon Payments Infrastructure (Widget, API, Security) Builder for 11 years.

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