eDiscovery for Microsoft Teams Standard & Private Channels

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I recently ran some eDiscovery search tests against Microsoft Teams private channels to determine what, if any, the differences were between a standard and private channel. It turns out, there are a few nuanced, but important differences. I’ve showcased them in this post’s featured image and go thru the details below. Please share with business teams in your organization running their own eDiscovery cases.

TLDR? Skip down to Key Takeaways. 🙂


Standard channel header

To find content from all standard channels in an eDiscovery search, include the following search locations for your eDiscovery case:

  • SharePoint site associated with the Microsoft Teams
  • Exchange Group mailbox for the Microsoft Teams mailbox (would include ALL standard channel conversations in the Team)

This returns:

  • Documents shared across all standard channel conversations (did you know a document’s comments are also discoverable and are stored within each document?)
  • Documents created/uploaded directly to Microsoft Teams SharePoint site
  • List items and attachments, SharePoint pages, SharePoint calendar in the Teams SharePoint site
  • All standard channel conversations in the form of email messages:
    • in-app conversations around a document are stored and discoverable as email messages and the document will be attached to the email message

Electronic hold… You can place an electronic hold (eHold) on a Group mailbox and/or the Microsoft Teams SharePoint site to preserve the content while the eDiscovery case is active and until the hold is released. The content will be retained in the Preservation Hold Library on the Microsoft Teams SharePoint site.


Private channel header

To find content from a Teams private channel in an eDiscovery search, include the following search locations for your eDiscovery case:

  • SharePoint site for the channel site collection associated to the private channel. This is where private channel files are stored. Naming convention is TeamName-PrivateChannelName
  • Exchange mailbox for each private channel member (all conversations in the Private Channel are stored in every private channel member’s mailbox for compliance purposes)

This returns:

  • Documents shared across the private channel conversations (did you know a document’s comments are also discoverable and are stored within each document?)
  • Documents created/uploaded directly to private channel SharePoint site
  • List items and attachments, SharePoint pages, SharePoint calendar in the channel SharePoint site
  • All private channel conversations in the form of email messages
    • in-app conversations around a document are stored and discoverable as email messages and the document will be attached to the email message

    Electronic hold… You can place an electronic hold (eHold) on the private channel SharePoint site to preserve the content while the eDiscovery case is active and until the hold is released. The content will be retained in the Preservation Hold Library on the private channel SharePoint site.

    Microsoft does not yet support electronic holds on private channel messages. Although my preliminary testing has shown placing the team members’ user mailboxes on hold, the private channel messages appear to be held and discoverable thru search (along with the rest of the user’s mailbox content), I would not recommend officially doing this until Microsoft has announced their support.


    Key takeaways:

    eDiscovery locations for Microsoft Teams

    • If you include “All locations” in an eDiscovery search, it will include all Private channel conversations and files as well as Standard channel conversations and files
    • Each Private Channel requires separate SharePoint site and User mailboxes to be entered as search locations whereas all standard channels are included when you search against the Microsoft Teams SharePoint site and Group mailbox
    • The Private channel conversation shows in the mailbox of EACH member of the Private channel (the To: address will be the mailbox address of the Team)
    • Microsoft Teams meeting recordings (stored in Microsoft Stream) are NOT included in an eDiscovery search for either Standard or Private channel meetings

Thanks for reading!
-JCK

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