The Dangers of M365 Add-On Solutions

Atle Skjekkeland


There are a variety of IT solutions that improve how information is captured, processed, and managed in Microsoft 365 (M365), but some of them actually create a long-term problem for you. By buying these 3rd party solutions, you are then saying no to many Microsoft innovations and improvements.

Many Microsoft partners that offer 3rd party add-on products to improve M365 do not support or enhance Microsoft security and compliance platform features like record labels, label policies, and auto-classification. Instead they offer you their own way to manage documents and records from M365, and the consequence of this is that you don´t benefit from the ongoing Microsoft innovations and improvements.

Some Microsoft partners that offer M365 add-on solutions are different, like Meeting Decisions. They provide instead apps on top of the M365 platform with security and compliance managed by the platform. This is the type of add-on products that you should consider to meet specific business needs. Let the information be managed by the M365 platform to ensure compliance and security.

These two scenarios are summarized below. Scenario 1 is M365 add-on solutions that by-pass the Microsoft security and compliance features by managing the content from or in the 3rd party solutions, while scenario 2 is M365 add-on solutions that provide apps on top of the platform.

M365 add-ons

To avoid creating a future problem when buying M365 add-on products, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the 3rd party storing your data or information about your data outside of M365?

  • Is the 3rd party addendum complimenting or enhancing an existing M365 feature ?

  • Is your data at risk if you ever wanted to discontinue your relation with the 3rd party add-on?

  • Does the 3rd party solution depend on any Microsoft features which will require remediation or upgrade if Microsoft were to change or discontinue?

As an example of this, take Microsoft Teams. This is where work now happens for many organizations, but chats and files are stored in Exchange, OneDrive for Business, and SharePoint Online. We often meet organizations that have decided to go for scenario 1, but struggle how to manage records from Teams and ensure compliance. Some of them have even given up and told staff not to store records in Microsoft Teams. A better approach is scenario 2 with Microsoft Teams security and compliance features to manage chats, files, and call recordings to automate records management and compliance. You then buy or build apps that enhances Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams compliance features

Below are some blog posts that you may find of interest:

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