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Pro Tips for Managing Data in Microsoft Teams

As you know by now, Microsoft Teams is built on Office 365 Groups, as well as other Microsoft applications like SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.  When launching and managing Teams in your organization, there are several points you should be aware of regarding data storage, accessibility, backup and restoration.

If you need a refresher on Microsoft Teams basics, check out our article, What is Teams, Anyway?

Changes to how data is structured

The Files section in Teams is actually the document library in your SharePoint Online site, pulled in through the Teams interface. With this new interface, you have the ability to surface and bring together all types of information throughout Office 365, but it’s important to remember that this single UI still leverages other applications in the background.

From a governance standpoint, it’s necessary to understand where data lives and where data resides. There’s a difference between what’s stored in Teams and what’s being pulled into Teams. For example, while data is still stored on the backend of Twitter, when pulled into Teams, we have a copy of that data stored in a channel in Teams.

Retention policies

When you create a new Team, an Office 365 Group is automatically created with its own OneDrive for Business/SharePoint Online “site collection.” The nice thing is that you can apply retention policies, set permissions, and do backup and restore either through Teams or through the backend application.

It’s worthwhile to note that you can apply different retention periods for Team chats and Team channel messages if you want. Maybe you set chats to expire after 90 days, but want to retain channel messages for a year. This is all possible through your Office 365 Groups settings.

Also, through the Compliance & Security Center you can set a legal hold to ensure you are capturing content based upon required regulations and organization policies.

Channels, connectors and tabs

While we’re talking about Team files, know that there’s other data that exists in there. There’s a channel, which is really a shared mailbox in Exchange; private chats that are stored in the user’s mailbox; and – coming soon – meetings that occur in Teams will automatically be sent to Stream once the recording is finished.

Pro Tip!

How cool is this? Once Teams meeting recordings become available for review in Stream, you’ll be able to access analytics such as how many meetings a user participated in, even if those meetings weren’t scheduled in their Outlook calendar.

In addition to monitoring the data that resides within Office 365, keep in mind your organization’s use of third-party apps that have access to the information stored in Teams. There are third-party integrations like those for Smartsheet and Twitter that create massive data connections. While Office 365 may be regulatory-compliant for your industry, you need to make sure that any third-party integrated apps are also compliant.

Beware: A hidden issue is that if a Team is created with a special symbol, such as an ampersand, then you cannot use connectors.  Also, due to logging and information protection, once a Team’s channel is deleted, the same name cannot be used again.

Understand how end users use Teams

Say you’ve used SharePoint in your organization for some time and you have it locked down externally. However, when you launch Teams, the information that’s stored there is now accessible outside of corporate restrictions. Maybe Teams is even replacing other technologies, such as group file shares on traditional on-prem servers.

If you have sensitive data that you don’t want accessible outside of your organization’s control, consider implementing Enterprise Mobility + Security to enforce your policies. With conditional access, you can limit who can sign in from where and on what device. You can also protect documents by preventing copying and pasting, printing, editing, or even opening a document outside of a corporate location.

From a compliance and governance perspective, you now have all of this data in multiple locations. Some of it exists in an old system that’s not being used, but still needs to be protected. The question becomes, how are you handling the proliferation of data now that it’s accessible through multiple channels?

Join our webinar on May 2 to learn the best ways to manage data, user access and security features in Microsoft Teams.

Or fill out the form below and one of our local experts will be in touch soon.


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