Does the 30-day retention policy also apply to Chats to yourself?

Yes, messages sent to yourself will also be subject to deletion by the retention policy.

The retention policy affects all direct chats including the messages users send to themselves. Teams treats messages sent to your own account similarly to those sent to other users in terms of storage and retentions.

What is a designated Microsoft Teams channel

A designated Teams channel refers to a specific channel within a Microsoft Teams team that is set aside for a particular purpose or topic. Channels in Microsoft Teams are dedicated sections that help organize conversations, files, and tools around various subjects, projects, or disciplines, making collaboration more structured and efficient.

Here are some key points about channels in Microsoft Teams:

  • Channels sit inside of teams: They are part of the broader team and are used for conversations and sharing related to a specific topic, department, or project.
  • Types of channels: There are standard channels open to all team members, private channels for confidential discussions, and shared channels for collaboration with people inside and outside your organization.
  • General channel: Every team has a General channel, which is the default channel for team-wide communication and cannot be deleted.
  • Organization: Channels can be organized by anything relevant to the team, such as group, project, feature, etc., and are designed to keep the team’s work focused and organized.

What Can I do to prepare for this change?

There are a few steps you can start taking: 

  • First, review your chat history. You will need a lot of time for this! 
  • Identify any relevant files that have been shared over one-on-one or group chats in Teams and move them from your OneDrive Teams chat folder into another relevant folder. If it’s a file that is shared and collaborated on, consider moving it into a Teams channel folder or SharePoint site. 
  • Keep an eye out for future communications
  • Join our information sessions: 
  • Spread the word! 

Is there a way to export my existing chat content?

There is currently no way to automate the export of chat content other than manually copying and pasting to another platform. However, due to the factors stated above we do not encourage users to retain their chat history indefinitely, even through manual means. 

Please note that Teams Chat deleted by a retention policy is gone permanently and cannot be recovered. Everyone across the tenant will be subject to the retention policy.

For staff, faculty or librarians – I am under the seven-day or 60-day retention policy. Will I be affected by this change?

If you are on the seven-day policy, you will not be affected by this change and your chats will continue to be on retention for seven days. If you are on the 60-day policy, you will revert to the new 30-day policy. 

Please note that Teams Chat deleted by a retention policy is gone permanently and cannot be recovered. Everyone across the tenant will be subject to the retention policy.

What are the recommended Next steps?

We are giving all faculty, staff, librarians and students advance notices along with the opportunity to review your chat history in case you have any important links or files that need to be retrieved and kept. Moving forward, if you feel there are chats that are pertinent to projects or other teams, it is recommended to initiate these conversations and share these links within a specific Microsoft Teams channel. Users are also encouraged to revert to email for business-related communications. 

What about the Files and Links Shared in 1:1 chat?

Any files or links that are shared in one-on-one chat will disappear along with the chat history; however, files shared with OneDrive or SharePoint will still be accessible. To access these files, go to Files > OneDrive > Microsoft Teams Chat Files. 

What will happen when the policy is implemented on September 16, 2024?

There are three scenarios you may encounter when the policy is implemented. 

1. Chat messages that are 30 days or older: 

These messages will be immediately deleted following Microsoft’s scheduled deletion job schedule. 

2. Chat messages that are less than 30 days old: 

Any chat message less than 30 days old and X days old will remain visible for 30 – X days until it is deleted. For example, if a message is five days old when the policy is implemented, the message will remain visible for another 25 days. 

3. Net new messages created after the policy is implemented on September 16: 

Any message created after the policy is implemented will have 30 days until it is deleted. 

Please note that Teams Chat deleted by a retention policy is gone permanently and cannot be recovered. Everyone across the tenant will be subject to the retention policy. 

Who does this policy impact?

This policy impacts any conversation outside of a channel or team created by any user including faculty, staff, librarians and students. 

Please note that Teams Chat deleted by a retention policy is gone permanently and cannot be recovered. Everyone across the tenant will be subject to the retention policy.

Why are we not keeping teams chat history indefinitely?

Microsoft Teams has become highly popular over the past several years and has changed the way we work. While it seems communication has become seamless, there are several factors that make keeping chat histories indefinitely problematic, including: 

Operational efficiency 

A retention policy will create standards for the university regarding communications and will facilitate more streamlined processes. If a retention policy is in place, users will understand that communications related to specific subject matters (e.g., project-related) should be stored in an appropriate platform where relevant information can be easily accessed. This approach avoids the need to sift through extensive chat history containing unrelated content and potentially outdated information. 

Security and risk mitigation 

A retention policy on Teams chat history will reduce the exposure of potentially sensitive information and unauthorized access. These risks could potentially lead to legal liabilities. 

Compliance and legal considerations 

Retaining individual chat history indefinitely creates legal risks and can potentially leave the university open to a variety of legal challenges. 

Please note that Teams Chat deleted by a retention policy is gone permanently and cannot be recovered. Everyone across the tenant will be subject to the retention policy.