Microsoft Puts Slack On Internal List of ‘Prohibited and Discouraged’ Software

PolygamousRanchKid shares a report:

GeekWire obtained an internal Microsoft list of prohibited and discouraged technology — software and online services that the company doesn’t want its employees using as part of their day-to-day work. We first picked up on rumblings of the prohibition from Microsoft employees who were surprised that they couldn’t use Slack at work, before tracking down the list and verifying its authenticity. While the list references the competitive nature of these services in some situations, the primary criteria for landing in the “prohibited” category are related to IT security and safeguarding company secrets.

Slack is on the “prohibited” category of the internal Microsoft list, along with tools such as the Grammarly grammar checker and Kaspersky security software. Services in the “discouraged” category include Amazon Web Services, Google Docs, PagerDuty and even the cloud version of GitHub, the popular software development hub and community acquired by Microsoft last year for $7.5 billion…

“It’s not just the risk that Google will try to find trade secrets from data stored on their servers,” said Christopher Budd, who has worked in security technology for 20 years, including past roles in Microsoft security and privacy communications. “When you’re at Microsoft, you’re at risk of state sponsored industrial espionage.”

The article notes that in the past Microsoft adopted an even harsher stance to employees using competing products. “At a company meeting during his tenure as CEO, Steve Ballmer once famously snatched an iPhone from an employee and pretended to stomp on it…”

But GeekWire also argues that Microsoft’s prohibiting of a popular chat tool “can have implications in a competitive recruiting environment.”

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