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Data retention is really a top-of-mind concern for just about any organization no matter industry. Correctly managing and securing your company’s information doesn’t just result in less unnecessary penalties and fines, it may also prevent sensitive information from stepping into the incorrect hands.

If you are using Microsoft Teams inside your organization, there’s a high probability the compliance features relevant to some Team came in conversation together with your legal, risk, and compliance teams. This publish will walk-through several out-of-the-box features vital that you understand from the compliance, eDiscovery, and business value perspective when utilizing Microsoft Teams. Let’s get began!

Do you know the Workloads of the Microsoft Team?

Teams “content” is kept in several places, making retaining it more difficult than retaining just one SharePoint site or Exchange mailbox. Since the content spans several workloads, it’s vital that you understand what’s stored where! This picture depicts the places where submissions are stored for any single Microsoft Team.

Applying Retention Across Microsoft Team Workloads

If you wish to use a retention policy to some Microsoft Team, that can be done by utilizing retention policies. (Note: You can’t create a retention label for use on the Team’s chat and funnel conversations. You are able to, however, make use of a retention label from the SharePoint or OneDrive content of the Team. The rest of this publish describes utilizing a retention policy and never a printed retention label since a retention policy could be configured to retain ALL content across Microsoft Teams workloads.)

A retention policy is used in a container level (site, mailbox) and may, at an advanced, do these 3 things:

  1. Retain only
  2. Retain and delete
  3. Delete only

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Once you’ve configured the retention policy to complete among the above 3 things, it may be printed to those Microsoft Teams’ workloads:

  • Microsoft Teams’ funnel conversations
  • Microsoft Teams’ chats (both 1:1 and group chats)
  • Microsoft Teams’ SharePoint site
  • Microsoft Teams’ member’s OneDrive site

Retention does apply at specific workloads inside a Microsoft Team (in the above list) or put it on against a whole Microsoft Team and all sorts of its workloads. Applying retention to any or all content across a Microsoft Team requires two retention policies you can’t get one retention policy targeting BOTH SharePoint/OneDrive and Funnel/Chats. It’s either either.

Retention Policy #1 (for Microsoft Teams Files): 

  • Choose the “Choose sites” option and go into the Hyperlink to the SharePoint site backing the Microsoft Team.
  • Choose the “Choose accounts” option and enter all Microsoft Team’s users’ OneDrive URLs to retain their chat files for any Microsoft Team.

This can retain all content across all libraries within the Team (files, wikis, OneNotes) in addition to all documents shared through the user within their 1:1 and Group chats. If you’ve opted for “retain” option within the policy, it’ll support the content in the Upkeep Hold library around the SharePoint/OneDrive site.

Retention Policy #2: (for Microsoft Teams Chats and Conversations)

  • Choose the “Choose teams” option and go into the Microsoft Team’s name to use retention to any or all of the Teams channel’s messages (conversations).
  • Choose the “Choose users” option and enter all users whose chats you need to retain within each Team.

If you’ve opted for “retain” option within the policy, it’ll support the content in the Recoverable Products partition within the Group/User mailbox. You will notice both chat messages and funnel conversations whenever you export the outcomes within an eDiscovery search to some .pst file. They’ll both maintain the “Teams Chat” folder under “Conversation History.”

microsoft teams

How can you Archive a Microsoft Team?

Instead of applying a retention policy, you may also archive a Microsoft Team. Exactly what does this suggest? It’s like placing a Team inside a read-only condition and allowing the information there to be discoverable through search. You might want to do that if you are temporarily completed with a group although not quite prepared to delete it. Once archived, you may either restore they to really make it active again or delete it.

To archive a group, they owner will need to keep it in check and choose “Archive Team” in the ellipsis. They are able to optionally result in the websites content read-only, something I highly recommend.

microsoft teams

When a Team is archived, a unique archive icon can look near the Team name along with a message displays on top of they funnel area notifying people from the Team’s archived condition. Within the image below, the Biz Occasions team continues to be archived.

Once archived, a group owner may either restore it by choosing Restore Team in the ellipsis OR delete it by choosing Delete Team in the ellipsis.

Which to make use of When: Retention or Archiving?

Retention is really a feature purpose-created to address a compliance requirement and could be put on a group while it’s still active. For instance, you might want to use a retention policy to any or all Microsoft Teams community sites to retain and delete content 5 years beyond the last modified date. Team people could add, change, and delete content inside the Team while still submission to the regulatory requirement a company might have. This can be preferred in certain eDiscovery scenarios since Team people won’t know their submissions are being retained for discovery purposes. A retention policy, if configured having a retain option, would also avoid the Team from being deleted.

(Note: It’s vital that you realize that exactly the same underlying mechanism utilized in a retention policy can also be utilized in a digital hold throughout an eDiscovery situation. Both retain content somewhere “hidden” for an finish-user.)

Archiving, however, is really a point-in-time snapshot of the Team’s content. Even though the archived Team is discoverable through search and is utilized in an eDiscovery situation, content inside the Team isn’t certain to be retained for any specific time period because the Team can technically be restored or deleted at any time through the Team owner.

  • When the Team is restored… ongoing changes and deletions wouldn’t be logged like they’d if your retention policy was put on they, causeing this to be not ideal when the Team was a part of an eDiscovery situation.
  • When the Team is deleted… the information would not be discoverable, causeing this to be a less appropriate option for retaining a Team’s content.

The utilization-situation for archiving a group is much more about business value and fewer about compliance. Even though you can easily archive a group instead of deleting it to guarantee the submissions are still searchable (and readily available for an eDiscovery), there’s some other reasons why you might want to archive a group that are typically part of the bigger Office 365 governance program.

microsoft teams

A few examples where archiving a group will be a appropriate choice:

  • Allowing for the next review/approval process before a group was permanently removed.
  • Archiving a group for future business reference. Take, for instance, a group provisioned to have an annual corporate event. The information inside the Team may have business value the big event planners could leverage for an additional year’s event. There’d be natural value in getting the information provided inside a read-only condition, however there’re no regulatory retention needs to help keep it for any certain time period.

Closing Ideas

There’s lots of moving parts in every Microsoft Team. It’s vital that you comprehend the components storing content inside a Team, the regulatory needs you have to adhere to, and also the business worth of the information there. Knowing this, you may choose the right tool to retain, archive, or delete it to satisfy your organization’s needs. Thank you for studying!


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