Before the headline above sparks fears that the applications listed are compromised – they aren’t.
Rather, Microsoft feels that use of Slack, Grammarly and other applications could pose a security risk and as such as discouraged, or outright prohibited, employees from using certain apps.
This is according to an internal document seen by Geekwire which outlines applications employees shouldn’t use and those they should use with caution.
“Slack Free, Slack Standard and Slack Plus versions do not provide required controls to properly protect Microsoft Intellectual Property (IP). Existing users of these solutions should migrate chat history and files related to Microsoft business to Microsoft Teams, which offers the same features and integrated Office 365 apps, calling and meeting functionality. Learn more about the additional features that Teams can provide your workgroup. Slack Enterprise Grid version complies with Microsoft security requirements; however, we encourage use of Microsoft Teams rather than a competitive software,” reads the Microsoft document.
But Slack is not alone, Grammarly was banned for a similar reason as the application is able to read every keystroke. This means the application could access protected content within emails and documents and as such it is prohibited from being used.
GitHub is another, bizarre inclusion (Microsoft owns the site), but it appears as if only the cloud version of GitHub is “discouraged” from being used. That is solely for highly confidential information and code so it seems as if employees aren’t banned from using Github’s cloud version but should use their best judgement.
Finally, Amazon Web Services and Google Docs are listed under the “discouraged for use” banner. The reason for why (as with Grammarly) is not given and employees will “require a business justification” to make use of the applications.
Of course, this looks like Microsoft doesn’t want its employees using products from its competition but we’d argue this is just the firm trying to minimise risk.
The fact that Microsoft has a product for every one it has prohibited or discouraged use of however, is likely just a happy accident.