Protect Teams meetings with Watermarks

Teams Premium license introduced many new features for Teams meetings. Some of them can help you protect your information during meetings. You can use end-to-end data encryption during meetings, sensitivity labels with predefined security settings, advanced meeting monitoring reports, or specify who can record a meeting. Today I will show you one more feature – Watermarks. It enables a new way to protect shared content and video during meetings.

Watermarks

Microsoft Teams allows users to add a watermark to their meeting content and video recordings as an additional security measure. This feature is particularly useful for organizations that need to protect sensitive information during online meetings. The watermark displays the email address of the meeting participant on shared content and video feed.

It does not block people from taking screenshots or recording using 3rd party applications but adds a security layer and makes it harder to copy data from meetings.

Technical information

When you enable watermarks every user in a meeting will see their email address on shared content and other participants’ video streams. It is enabled by a meeting organizer or enforced by a template. It cannot be disabled by attendees. Moreover, it must be enabled in a meeting setting before the meeting starts (you can’t enable it in a running meeting).

Watermarks are fully supported on a desktop and a mobile client. If an attendee joins a meeting using an unsupported client, audio-only experience is enabled, and shared content is disabled for the attendee.

Audio-only experience is enabled for:

  • Participants using the Teams web client
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) participants
  • Anonymous participants
  • Overflow participants

When you enable watermarks for a meeting following features will be disabled:

  • Meeting recording, including automatic recording
  • Large gallery
  • Together mode
  • PowerPoint Live
  • Whiteboard
  • Content from camera

Attendees do not need a Teams Premium license, but organizers do need it.

Global Configuration

Before you can use watermarks, you must enable the Teams Premium license for your users. Right now, you can enable it as a trial.

The next step is to configure watermarks in the Teams Admin Center.

1. Navigate to Teams Admin Center (https://admin.teams.microsoft.com/), open the Meetings section, and click on Meeting policies

Teams Admin Center
Teams Admin Center

2. Open Global (Org-wide default) policy

Global meeting policy
Global meeting policy

3. Scroll down to the Watermark section and enable both Watermark videos and Watermark shared content.

Enable Watermarks
Enable Watermarks

4. Confirm changes with the Save button

How to use watermarks

Watermarks must be enabled before you start a meeting.

1. Create a meeting and go to the meeting settings

2. Enable Watermarks for shared content and video feed. When you enable watermarks Record automatically setting is grayed out and you can use it.

Enable Watermarks in a meeting settings
Enable Watermarks in a meeting settings

To test it join the meeting and share content. You will see your e-mail address on the entire shared content.

Shared content with watermarks
Shared content with watermarks

If you join the meeting from an unsupported client (e.g., web) you will get an audio-only experience and additional notification.

An Audio-only experience
An Audio-only experience

Summary

Watermarks are a nice feature that enhances your meeting security. It is designed to be an additional protection layer and help you avoid data leaks. You can use it in many scenarios to help your users protect shared content such as financial data, process diagrams, etc. If a user takes a screenshot of the presented data, it will get the user’s e-mail address so it can’t be used directly on documents or presentations.

Teams Premium license is needed only for a meeting organizer so you can use the feature with external people as well (partners, guests, vendors, etc.). If you invite an anonymous user to the meeting, an audio-only mode will be enabled for the user automatically.

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