Effective communication tools are crucial for businesses of the 21st century. Microsoft Teams and Slack are two of the most popular platforms that have emerged to address this need.
Both tools have garnered a significant user base and have been employed by businesses ranging from small startups to global enterprises.
But how do they stack up against each other, and which is better suited for your business needs?
In this guide, we’ll give you the lowdown on the Microsoft Teams vs. Slack comparison and see which tool comes out on top.
The Evolution of Slack and Microsoft Teams
Before we get into the nitty gritty of both tools, let’s take a whistlestop tour through their history:
Slack began its journey not as a communication platform but as an internal tool for a gaming company named Tiny Speck in 2013.
The company was developing a game called Glitch, and to facilitate communication, they built what we now know as Slack.
Although Glitch didn’t gain traction, Slack’s potential as a standalone communication tool was evident.
Launched officially in 2014, its growth was meteoric. It filled a niche by providing an alternative to email that was both interactive and integrated smoothly with other productivity tools.
Microsoft Teams, launched in 2017, is relatively younger. However, its lineage can be traced back to Microsoft’s prior endeavours in communication tools, like Skype for Business and Microsoft Lync.
Recognising the rising importance of team collaboration platforms and observing the growing popularity of other tools, Microsoft decided to create Teams.
It was positioned as a hub for teamwork in Microsoft 365, integrating chat, meetings, notes, and attachments with the familiarity of Office applications.
Slack vs. Teams Pros And Cons
Let’s start with a high-level view of both tools, with a rundown of their pros and cons:
Pros of Slack
- Vast integration possibilities with third-party apps.
- Highly customisable user experience with bots and plugins.
- Efficient search functionality.
- A user-friendly interface that many find intuitive.
Cons Of Slack
- Video conferencing capabilities are not as advanced as Teams.
- Deep integrations with Microsoft products are lacking.
Pros Of Microsoft Teams
- Deep integration with Microsoft 365 suite.
- Advanced video conferencing features.
- High-grade security backed by Microsoft.
- Comprehensive IT management capabilities.
Cons Of Microsoft Teams
- Might feel overwhelming for businesses not already invested in the Microsoft ecosystem.
- Fewer third-party app integrations compared to Slack.
What Is The Difference Between Slack And Teams: Features?
Now, let’s take a deeper dive into some of their features to understand the key differences.
- Channels and Direct Messaging: Slack allows users to create channels, both public and private, for different teams, projects, or topics. Apart from channels, users can send direct messages to individuals or small groups.
- Integrations: Slack is well-known for its vast array of integrations. With over 2,000 apps in its directory, teams can connect tools like Google Drive, Trello, and Salesforce directly to their Slack workspace.
- Search Functionality: Slack’s search is robust, letting users find past messages, files, and even content within files.
- Customisation and Bots: Slack offers users the ability to customise their experience with bots, such as the Slackbot, which can be programmed to respond to queries or give reminders.
- File Sharing & Collaboration: Slack allows file sharing via drag-and-drop, with integrations like Google Drive and Dropbox. However, collaboration happens outside the platform.
- Teams and Channels: Similar to Slack, Teams allows users to create dedicated spaces for different groups or projects. However, Teams goes further by integrating with Microsoft 365 tools like SharePoint, OneNote, and Planner.
- Meetings and Calls: Teams provides a seamless video conferencing experience with features like background blur, meeting recording, and live captions.
- Integration with Microsoft 365: Being a product of Microsoft, Teams has a deep integration with the Microsoft 365 suite, making it easier for users invested in Microsoft’s ecosystem to collaborate.
- Security: Teams boasts advanced security features backed by Microsoft’s enterprise-grade security.
- File Sharing & Collaboration: Teams benefits from the Microsoft 365 integration. Files shared are automatically stored in SharePoint, and users can co-author in real-time using Word, Excel, or PowerPoint within Teams.
Security Features: A Paramount Consideration
Working with secure tools and platforms is important for every business, so how do these two compare?
- Data Encryption: Slack ensures data encryption in transit and at rest. It uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with a 256-bit key length for data at rest and TLS 1.2 for data in transit.
- Enterprise Grid: For large businesses, Slack offers an Enterprise Grid plan that provides enterprise-grade security, compliance, and management features, including enterprise mobility management (EMM) and enterprise key management (EKM).
- Authentication: Supports two-factor authentication (2FA) and integrates with enterprise mobility management solutions to ensure only authorised devices can access the platform.
- Compliance: Slack complies with several industry standards, including GDPR, HIPAA, and ISO 27001.
- Data Residency: Teams ensures that the data resides within the geographic boundaries set by the organisation, which is critical for businesses operating in regions with strict data residency requirements.
- Advanced Threat Protection (ATP): Microsoft’s ATP integration provides real-time monitoring for harmful links or content, ensuring malware protection.
- Compliance: Teams boasts a comprehensive set of compliance certifications, including GDPR, ISO 27001, SOC 2, and more. It’s also compliant with standards specific to sectors like health, finance, and government.
- Encryption: Similar to Slack, Teams ensures data encryption both in transit and at rest, leveraging Microsoft’s robust security infrastructure.
- Conditional Access: Teams integrates with Azure Active Directory, allowing for conditional access based on user identity, device health, application sensitivity, and more.
Why chose Teams over Slack
Several reasons contribute to this perceived shift:
- Integration with Microsoft 365: Microsoft Teams’ deep integration with its productivity suite gives it an edge, especially among businesses already using these tools.
- Pricing: Microsoft often bundles Teams with its Microsoft 365 subscriptions, making it a cost-effective choice for many businesses.
- Enterprise-grade security: With growing concerns about data privacy and security, Teams’ robust security features backed by Microsoft are alluring for larger corporations.
Our Final Word
Both Slack and Microsoft Teams have carved unique paths in the world of business communication. Slack, with its inception as a gaming tool, disrupted the market, whereas Microsoft Teams built upon Microsoft’s longstanding experience in enterprise solutions.
When it comes to security, while both platforms offer robust features, Microsoft Teams benefits from the broader Microsoft ecosystem, providing a deeper level of integration and comprehensive security solutions.
Businesses must weigh their specific requirements, regulatory environment, and existing IT infrastructure when choosing between the two. Both platforms are committed to user security and compliance, ensuring that sensitive business data remains protected in an ever-evolving digital landscape.
At Flotek, Teams is our preferred tool – it’s what we use on the daily. If you’d like to understand how your organisation can benefit from Teams, too, we’re here to help – just get in touch.